The 24th Mark Keller Honorary Lecture

An image of Laura E. Nagy smiling at the camera

Laura E. Nagy, Ph.D., delivered the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) 24th annual Mark Keller Honorary Lecture on Tuesday, January 28 at the National Institutes of Health. The title of her talk was “Inflammation and Cell Death in Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease.”

A world-renowned alcohol scientist, Dr. Nagy’s work has greatly advanced our understanding of alcohol’s impact on organ and immune system interactions. Notably, she has made seminal contributions to defining the innate immune system’s role in the progression of alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD). She and her colleagues also have done pioneering work on alcohol’s impact on adipose tissue and on the interaction between adipose tissue and the liver in the development of ALD.

In her talk, Dr. Nagy discussed the recent discovery in her laboratory that the treatment of mice with small, specific-sized hyaluronic acid of 35 kD (HA35) can directly prevent ethanol‐induced liver injury and protect the barrier function of the intestine. She summarized a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments that identified an essential miR181b‐3p–importin α5 regulatory axis in hepatic macrophages that contributed to the sensitization of Kupffer cells to TLR4‐mediated cytokine production via enhanced accumulation of the p65 subunit of NFκB to the nucleus. Dr. Nagy explained how these mechanistic insights could be translated into new treatments for ALD. She also reviewed what we know about non-canonical functions of cell death proteins in murine models of non- and alcohol-associated fatty liver and steatohepatitis, as well as commented on their potential use as biomarkers.

Dr. Nagy is currently a professor of molecular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, where she also serves as an adjunct professor of nutrition. Dr. Nagy is also on staff in the departments of inflammation and immunity, and gastroenterology and hepatology at the Cleveland Clinic.

To view Dr. Nagy’s talk, please visit the NIH videocast website.