Scientific Publications

“Mitochondria in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease”

Inês C.M. Simões, Adriana Fontes, Paolo Pinton, Hans Zischka and Mariusz R. Wieckowski

ABSTRACT 

NAFLD is a common disease in Western society and ranges from steatosis to steatohepatitis and to end-stage liver disease. The molecular mechanisms that cause the progression of steatosis to severe liver damage are not fully understood. One suggested mechanism involves the oxidation of biomolecules by mitochondrial ROS which initiates a vicious cycle of exacerbated mitochondrial dysfunction and increased hepatocellular oxidative damage. This may ultimately pave the way for hepatic inflammation and liver failure. This review updates our current understanding of mitochondria-derived oxidative stress in the progression of NAFLD.

Keywords: Mitochondria, steatosis, ROS, NAFLD, NASH

November, Vol. 16 (Suppl. 1), 2017: s87-s105

"Bile Acids and Cancer: Direct and Environmental-Dependent Effects"

Agostino Di Ciaula, David Q.-H. Wang, Emilio Molina-Molina, Raquel Lunardi Baccetto, Giuseppe Calamita, Vincenzo O. Palmieri, Piero Portincasa

ABSTRACT 

Bile acids (BAs) regulate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, cholesterol and lipids but have also a key role as signaling molecules and in the modulation of epithelial cell proliferation, gene expression and metabolism. These homeostatic pathways, when disrupted, are able to promote local inflammation, systemic metabolic disorders and, ultimately, cancer. The effect of hydrophobic BAs, in particular, can be linked with cancer in several digestive (mainly oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, biliary tract, colon) and extra-digestive organs (i.e. prostate, breast) through a complex series of mechanisms including direct oxidative stress with DNA damage, apoptosis, epigenetic factors regulating gene expression, reduced/increased expression of nuclear receptors (mainly farnesoid X receptor, FXR) and altered composition of gut microbiota, also acting as a common interface between environmental factors (including diet, lifestyle, exposure to toxics) and the molecular events promoting cancerogenesis. Primary prevention strategies (i.e. changes in dietary habits and lifestyle, reduced exposure to environmental toxics) mainly able to modulate gut microbiota and the epigenome, and the therapeutic use of hydrophilic BAs to counterbalance the negative effects of the more hydrophobic BAs might be, in the near future, part of useful tools for cancer prevention and management.

DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0010.5501.

Keywords: Bile acids. Cancer. Microbiota. FXR. Environment. Epigenome. 

November, Vol. 16 (Suppl. 1), 2017: s4-s14

"Bile Acid Physiology"

Agostino Di Ciaula, Gabriella Garruti, Raquel Lunardi Baccetto, Emilio Molina-Molina, Leonilde Bonfrate, David Q.-H. Wang, Piero Portincasa

ABSTRACT 

The primary bile acids (BAs) are synthetized from cholesterol in the liver, conjugated to glycine or taurine to increase their solubility, secreted into bile, concentrated in the gallbladder during fasting, and expelled in the intestine in response to dietary fat. BAs are also bio-transformed in the colon to the secondary BAs by the gut microbiota, reabsorbed in the ileum and colon back to the liver, and minimally lost in the feces. BAs in the intestine not only regulate the digestion and absorption of cholesterol, triglycerides, and fatsoluble vitamins, but also play a key role as signaling molecules in modulating epithelial cell proliferation, gene expression, and lipid and glucose metabolismby activating farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and G-protein-coupled bile acid receptor-1 (GPBAR-1, also known as TGR5) in the liver, intestine, muscle and brown adipose tissue. Recent studies have revealed the metabolic pathways of FXR and GPBAR-1 involved in the biosynthesis and enterohepatic circulation of BAs and their functions as signaling molecules on lipid and glucose metabolism.

DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0010.5493

Keywords: Bile acids. Microbiota. FXR. Bile.