Dr. Jeongeun Hyun at ITREN identified a novel molecular cell biological mechanism whereby liver failure (a condition in which liver function is extremely deteriorated) occurs in human and animals with alcoholic hepatitis. The research article (Title: Epithelial splicing regulatory protein 2-mediated alternative splicing reprograms hepatocytes in severe alcoholic hepatitis) has been published in a world prominent academic journal, Journal of Clinical Investigation (IF=12.282). (https://www.jci.org/articles/view/132691)
Severe alcoholic hepatitis is a deadly liver disease without an effective medical therapy. Although mortality of severe alcoholic hepatitis is known to correlate with hepatic accumulation of immature liver cells, underlying mechanism is poorly understood. Dr. Hyun and her research team demonstrated that expression of ESRP2 (epithelial splicing regulatory protein-2) was suppressed in hepatocytes of both severe alcoholic hepatitis patients and various mouse models of alcoholic hepatitis. ESRP2 is an RNA splicing factor that maintains the mature phenotype of adult hepatocytes. Loss of ESRP2 permitted re-emergence of fetal RNA isoforms that allowed hepatocyte reprogramming to immature hepatocytes that are less functional. She also showed in animal experiments that depleting ESRP2 in mice exacerbated alcohol-induced steatohepatitis.
Dr. Hyun said, “as it has identified important regulators and the mechanism of alcoholic hepatitis progression, it will be of great help in future research for prevention and treatment of alcoholic hepatitis”.
Based on her previous findings, Jeongeun Hyun, who came to Dankook University in March 2020, is actively conducting research to apply advanced nano-bio convergence technology and apply it to the clinic for the treatment of liver disease and liver regeneration.
The ITREN plans to pioneer new research fields, such as new nanotherapies and in vitro culture models, to apply our knowledge accumulated from researches on nerve, muscle, bone, teeth, cartilage, and vascular regeneration to the liver regeneration.