Interleukin-22 therapy: Providing new hope for alcoholic hepatitis

2015

Challenge

Alcoholic hepatitis is a severe form of alcoholic liver disease, and how the condition progresses is largely unknown. No FDA-approved therapies exist at this time.

Advance

IRP researchers led by Bin Gao, M.D., Ph.D., established a new animal model (chronic-plus-binge ethanol feeding) that better mimics human patterns of alcohol abuse than previous models, reproducing some features of liver damage and inflammation in patients with alcoholic hepatitis. Dr. Gao’s group discovered that interleukin-22 is a protein with the ability to protect the liver from damage and promote liver regeneration.

Impact

Interleukin-22 is currently the subject of clinical trials for the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis. The chronic-plus-binge model is now widely used for studying the development and progression of early alcoholic hepatitis.

Publications

Bertola, A., Mathews, S., Wang, H., Ki, S., and Gao, B. (2013). Chronic plus binge ethanol feeding model (the NIAAA model). Nature Protocols. 8:627-637.

Feng, D., Kong, X., Weng, H., Park, O., Wang, H., Dooley, S., Gershwin, E., and Gao, B. (2012). Interleukin-22 promotes proliferation of liver stem/progenitor cells in mice and patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Gastroenterology. 143:188-198.

Related Research in Action