Research has shown that patients with chronic hepatitis C who develop liver fibrosis have in common a specific variation of a gene called MICA.
When liver cells are damaged, the MICA gene is produced. However, in cases where the condition worsens and results in liver fibrosis (incorrect healing of liver tissue), this gene has changes.
The researchers believe that understanding how the liver works is important to prevent complications in that organ.
With the identification of MICA, it is possible to assess the patient’s chances of developing fibrosis, facilitating diagnosis and treatment.
In all, 1,689 patients who have hepatitis C participated in the tests. The study, published in the medical journal New England Journal of Medicine, was done at the Westmead Institute in Australia.
The discovery is important because, with new studies, it will be possible to reduce the worsening of hepatitis to fibrosis and, consequently, the need for liver transplantation.
When the liver is injured, it attempts to heal itself by producing tissue called a scar. If this tissue is produced on a large scale, the person develops liver fibrosis.
Alcohol abuse, excess liver fat and hepatitis C are some of the causes of liver fibrosis.