Cell-Type Resolved Insights into the Cis-Regulatory Genome of NAFLD

Trine V. Dam, Nicolaj I. Toft, Lars Grøntved*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing rapidly, and unmet treatment can result in the development of hepatitis, fibrosis, and liver failure. There are difficulties involved in diagnosing NAFLD early and for this reason there are challenges involved in its treatment. Furthermore, no drugs are currently approved to alleviate complications, a fact which highlights the need for further insight into disease mechanisms. NAFLD pathogenesis is associated with complex cellular changes, including hepatocyte steatosis, immune cell infiltration, endothelial dysfunction, hepatic stellate cell activation, and epithelial ductular reaction. Many of these cellular changes are controlled by dramatic changes in gene expression orchestrated by the cis-regulatory genome and associated transcription factors. Thus, to understand disease mechanisms, we need extensive insights into the gene regulatory mechanisms associated with tissue remodeling. Mapping cis-regulatory regions genome-wide is a step towards this objective and several current and emerging technologies allow detection of accessible chromatin and specific histone modifications in enriched cell populations of the liver, as well as in single cells. Here, we discuss recent insights into the cis-regulatory genome in NAFLD both at the organ-level and in specific cell populations of the liver. Moreover, we highlight emerging technologies that enable single-cell resolved analysis of the cis-regulatory genome of the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Article number870
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1. Mar 2022


  • Chromatin
  • Cis-regulatory region
  • Gene regulatory network
  • Liver
  • NASH
  • Single-cell analysis
  • Transcription factor


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