Volume 13 Issue 2, February 2016

Volume 13 Issue 2

Cover image supplied by S. Ferreira-Gonzalez and S.J. Forbes, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Edinburgh, UK, who are funded by MRC and Principal’s Career Development Edinburgh University grants. Immunofluorescence image of ductular reaction in the liver. Tissue was stained to show marker of biliary differentiation keratin 19 (rat anti-troma III) and red fluorescent protein (rabbit anti-RFP). Nuclei were stained by DAPI.

Research Highlights

Year in Review

  • Year in Review |

    In 2015, new tools were developed to modulate fibroblast and macrophage activity to halt liver fibrogenesis and stimulate resolution. Essential factors for resolution were identified and clinical trials yielded potential new antifibrotic drugs. Although innovations were made this year, clinical trials are still hampered by the lack of methods to monitor disease progression.

    • Klaas Poelstra
  • Year in Review |

    Gut microbial communities often contain many Bacteroides or their close relatives, Prevotella, but not both. Prevotella strains are associated with plant-rich diets but are also linked with chronic inflammatory conditions. In 2015, papers probed the genomic diversity of Prevotella strains and interactions of Prevotella copri with its host and other bacteria.

    • Ruth E. Ley
  • Year in Review |

    In 2015, new treatment regimens were revealed that achieve >95% cure rates for all HCV genotypes. The HCV polymerase structure was solved in catalytically relevant HCV replication steps and in the context of nucleotide analogue inhibition. Moreover, HCV research taught us new links between innate antiviral responses, lipid metabolism and intracellular membrane formation.

    • Barbara Rehermann
  • Year in Review |

    Several key papers published in 2015 highlight important emerging trends in endoscopic imaging that promise to improve patient diagnosis and guidance of therapy. These studies reflect the future role for 'smart' contrast agents and fluorescence endoscopes to provide a molecular basis for disease detection, identify precancerous lesions and determine optimal choice of therapy.

    • Bishnu P. Joshi
    •  & Thomas D. Wang
  • Year in Review |

    Late diagnosis and an inability to personalize treatment are major problems preventing reductions in pancreatic cancer mortality. In 2015, the identification of a highly discriminatory exosomal biomarker, culture systems that recapitulate human disease and new methods of analysing large data sets to identify prognostic markers have improved the future outlook for patients with this cancer.

    • Thomas Seufferlein
    •  & Julia Mayerle


  • Review Article |

    The pathophysiology of IBS is multifactorial with a substantial genetic component. Although a variety of genetic and epigenetic changes have been associated with different IBS subtypes, reproducible validation of these results is still outstanding and pharmacogenetic strategies have yet to be devised. Here, the COST Action BM1106 GENIEUR (epi)genetic working group gives insights into the situation to date, advances and challenges that still need addressing.

    • Maria Gazouli
    • , Mira M. Wouters
    • , Lejla Kapur-Pojskić
    • , May-Bente Bengtson
    • , Eitan Friedman
    • , Gordana Nikčević
    • , Christiana A. Demetriou
    • , Agata Mulak
    • , Javier Santos
    •  & Beate Niesler


  • Review Article |

    Tremendous progress has been made in understanding the immune responses in the liver. Here, Heymann and Tacke provide a comprehensive overview of liver immunology, from homeostasis to disease. The cellular mediators of immune responses in the liver and triggers of hepatic inflammation are described.

    • Felix Heymann
    •  & Frank Tacke
  • Review Article |

    Bariatric surgery is efficient in achieving weight loss in severe obesity, but associated anatomical or mechanical alterations might also affect oesophageal function. Each type of surgery has its own risks and benefits when it comes to pre-existing or the potential development of postoperative oesophageal disorders. Here, the three most common types of bariatric surgery and their respective influences on oesophageal function are discussed.

    • Rishi D. Naik
    • , Yash A. Choksi
    •  & Michael F. Vaezi