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Immune mechanisms in the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
Università degli studi di Novara
Dept of health sciences, University of East Piedmont, via Solaroli 17 28100 Novara, Italy
Prof Emanuele Albano
Prof Emanuele Albano
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
NAFLD is in this moment the most frequent hepatic lesion word wide accounting for 25% of the general population in relation to the spreading of obesity. In about 20-30% of NAFLD patients the disease can progress to nonalcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH) in which hepatocellular damage and intralobular inflammation lead to the development of fibrosis/cirrhosis as well as of hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatic inflammation is presently considered the driving force in NAFLD evolution. However, the mechanisms responsible for maintaining chronic liver inflammation in NAFLD are still incompletely understood. Despite the major health impact of progressive NAFLD, we still lack validated strategies to predict the individual risk of NAFLD progression as well as of effective treatments. The characterization of the inflammatory mechanisms is critical since it can provide the key to identify the patients at risk of disease progression and provide the background to develop effective therapies.
What is the aim of the project?
The project aim to investigate the role of adaptive immunity in sustaining chronic inflamamtion in NAFLD with special reference to the analysis of celluler interaction between lymphocytes and macrophages
What techniques and methods are used?
The student can experience liver cell isolation and culture, immunohistochemical and RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction) detection of inflammatory markers in liver cells and flow cytometry analysis of different liver myeloid cells. The laboratory can also provide the possibility to perform immunoassay of cytokines, cell transfection experiments and animal genotyping.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Learn about the methods used in the laboratory, take part to the analytical procedures, actively participate to data analysis and the discussion of the results. The student will be involved in all the processes that lead to data acquisition to their interpretation in order to have full immersion in who scientific data are generated and add on the available information of specific topics. We expect that the students will be able to actively interacts with the people in the lab and understand how biomedical research can impact on clinical medicine.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
There won’t be theoretical teaching
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
No specific skill is required. Background knowledge in mechanisms of disease (inflammation, cancer biology, immunology, physiopathology) would help for a rapid integration in the project. The applicant should be aware that the project can involve the use of experimental animals. Subjects passed: Immunology
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Please do not share the results of the research
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students
- Younossi Z et al. Global burden of NAFLD and NASH: trends; predictions; risk factors and prevention. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018;15:11-20. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2017.109.
- Rinella ME. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a systematic review. JAMA. 2015;313:2263-2273. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.5370.
- Lindenmeyer CC; McCullough AJ. The natural history of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease -an evolving view. Clin. Liver Dis. 2018;22:11–21.
- Sutti S; Albano E. Adaptive immunity: an emerging player in the progression of NAFLD. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. doi: 10.1038/s41575-019-0210-2.
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