Every year on April 19, World Liver Day is celebrated with the goal of raising liver health awareness and also of drawing attention to liver diseases. The liver is our largest internal organ, located in the abdomen, and is responsible for several vital biological activities, including; blood filtration, producing proteins necessary for blood clotting, producing the cholesterol that is a building block for human tissue and sex hormones and the production of blood fats that are a key source of our body energy.
The liver is also classified as a gland since it produces chemicals that the body requires, including; the production of bile that aids in food digestion, the conversion of ammonia into urea that is expelled in the urine via the kidneys, the breakdown of medications and drugs, including alcohol, as well as the breakdown of insulin and other hormones in the body.
Many diseases or certain lifestyles may directly damage the liver or indirectly damage it as a result of an infection or disease that develops in another organ. Prime examples of these are Hepatitis, Malaria and Covid-19.
Hepatitis is a liver inflammation that can damage the liver, making it harder for it to function properly. Some forms of hepatitis (Hepatitis-B), while treatable, have no cure and some (hepatitis-C) can result in permanent liver damage.
Malaria is an infection that is caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans by infected female mosquitos. It is carried to the liver in red blood cells where it infects liver cells, causing organ congestion and cellular inflammation and resulting in the leakage of toxic liver enzymes into the circulation system.
While the SARS-CoV-2 virus mainly affects a patient’s respiratory system, the incidence of liver injury after coronavirus disease reached 50% in some cases. It is believed that this is the result of both the direct effect of the virus on the liver cell as well as an indirect effect of the drug treatments used to treat the virus.
Soft X-ray Tomography (SXT) has and continues to play an important role in helping disease researchers to understand disease transmission as well as develop therapies and vaccines for hepatitis, malaria and SARS-CoV-2. The papers listed below describe how SXT has been used by researchers to achieve their research goals in tackling these three diseases. SXT can therefore be attributed to helping researchers to deal with some of the main causes of and contributors to liver disease.
Monitoring reversion of hepatitis C virus-induced cellular alterations by direct-acting antivirals using cryo soft X-ray tomography and infrared microscopy
Ana J. Perez-Berna, et.al
Dr. Sergey Kapishnikov, et.al