Excessive fat accumulation in the liver can lead to serious medical problems, including liver failure. Thus, understanding the distribution of lipids within the liver is critical in diagnosing fatty liver diseases. A team of researchers has now shown that near-infrared hyperspectral imaging permits the visualization of lipid content in mouse liver. This technique can facilitate the diagnosis of fatty liver diseases in medical research.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a pathological condition characterized by excessive fat stored in the liver that is not attributed to heavy alcohol consumption, which can lead to liver failure and even cancer. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol are all risk factors for this disease. Like the global prevalence of obesity, the prevalence of NAFLD is also expected to rise.
It is, therefore, critical for clinicians to handle effective tools for diagnosing NAFLD. The current standard method for diagnosis is an analysis of liver biopsy samples. However, because of drawbacks such as invasiveness and the possibility of sampling errors, there is an urgent need for reliable noninvasive methods.
In a new study, researchers report the successful use of near-infrared hyperspectral imaging to quantitatively analyze the distributions of lipids (a class of lipids commonly found in fat) in mouse liver. The study focused on mice fed either a normal diet or one of three high-fat diets rich in different types of lipids.
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