In a new study led by the University of Michigan, researchers have now created a high-resolution picture of the cells at work inside a key hub of metabolism -- the liver -- and how individual cell types are reprogrammed in disease.
The findings, scheduled to publish Aug. 8 in the journal Molecular Cell, not only reveal a detailed map of cell-to-cell signaling in the liver, but also identify cellular changes that could potentially drive the progression of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, a severe form of fatty liver disease with no effective therapies.
Scientists - Mixture - Cells - Organ - Tissue
Until recently, scientists could analyze what was occurring only across a mixture of cells in a specific organ or tissue. But they lacked the technology to decipher the distinct cells within that complex mixture and see how each type was involved in overall tissue health and function.
"That was one question we really wanted to address with this study: Can we have a high-definition picture of each cell type in the liver, what signaling molecules are being released by each of these different cell types and what they are capable of responding to?" said Jiandie Lin, senior study author and a professor at the U-M Life Sciences Institute. "Now, with the new single-cell RNA sequencing technology, we can do that."
Single-cell - Sequencing - Researchers - Cells - Tissue
Single-cell sequencing allows researchers to isolate cells from a tissue sample and then determine the precise order of nucleic acids -- the molecules that make up DNA and RNA -- within each cell. Researchers can use this information to discover new cell types and activities within the tissue.
Lin and his colleagues applied this new research tool to obtain a gene expression profile for individual liver cells. By comparing data from mouse and human livers, the researchers laid out a blueprint of the types of cells operating in the liver, which signals the...
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