Investigators also showed in a preclinical study that gene therapy can be used to enhance or add modifications to key RNAs. This might reduce the severity of liver disease.
In the study, researchers used mice missing the m6A RNA modifications in the liver and a control model that included the modifications. They compared the effects of diets with differing fat contents to evaluate how the changes affected fatty liver disease. They also used measurements from human patients who had undergone liver biopsies during bariatric surgery. They used this to compare markers of m6A RNA modifications with liver fat content and inflammation.
“A key question moving forward is how genetic and environmental factors affect the body’s natural ability to create RNA modifications,” a news release said.
“Because m6A appears to act as a protective checkpoint that slows the accumulation of fat in the liver, the investigators hope their findings will spur future research on the development of therapies to enhance chemical modifications as a way to protect against liver disease and similar disorders.”