Henar Hevia Pérez, researcher in the area of Genic Therapy and Hepatology at the Applied Medicine Research Centre (CIMA)of the University of Navarra, has discovered the protective role of the methylthioadenosine (MTA) molecule in an in vivo inflammation model. The doctor has recently defended her PhD thesis at the Faculty of Sciences.
According to the biochemist, the inflammatory component is key in the development of many diseases, including those affecting the liver and, therefore, of vital importance in creating new therapeutic strategies aimed at mitigating their effects.
Besides many other functions, the liver plays an essential role in the metabolism of aminoacids, amongst which are metionine, an essential aminoacid and the metabolism of which is altered in hepatic diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. As a result, the focus of the researchers for some time has been the study of the hepatic metabolism of this aminoacid and the pathological consequences of its alteration.
Inflammation associated with liver pathologies
Dr. Henar Hevia studied the role of an important metabolic derivative of metionine, MTA, in inflammation, a process associated with a great variety of pathologies, including liver damage. These studies were undertaken in both in vivo and in vitro models and, in all of these, the potent anti-inflammatory effect of MTA could be verified. The researcher argues that the administration of MTA prevented the development of the acute inflammatory response and thereby completely protected the test animals against death. Moreover, prolonged treatment with MTA turned out to be quite tolerant and never produced adverse reactions in the animals.
In her opinion, this research by CIMA at the University of Navarra suggests that the administration of MTA could turn out to be effective in the treatment of diseases that have an inflammatory component such as hepatic cirrhosis, arthritis or multiple sclerosis.