Carol J Soroka PhD
Senior Research Scientist in Medicine (Digestive Diseases); Technical Director, Liver Center Morphology Core
Cholestatic liver diseases; Hepatocyte; Membrane transporters
Current ProjectsMy main research project at this time is the characterization of an organic solute transporter, Osta-Ostb, which is up-regulated during cholestasis. This transporter is expressed highly in the intestine, kidney, and (human) liver and is essential for homeostatic control of bile acid biosynthesis. I have characterized its heterodimeric nature and have shown in a genetically deficient mouse that during obstructive cholestasis its absence may play a protective role by augmenting renal clearance of bile acids.
Our lab is interested in how the liver is able to adapt to diseases that impair bile secretion. Specifically, we are interested in the expression of proteins of the main liver cell, called the hepatocye. In different disease states the liver attempts to up- or down-regulate specific proteins in order to compensate for its inability to secrete toxic substances. We utilize rodent models of liver disease and genetically altered mouse models in order to study the liver function. These models have allowed us to understand adaptive responses in the liver, as well as in other organs such as the kidney and intestine.
Extensive Research Description
The primary cell of the liver is the hepatocyte, a polarized epithelial cell that is essential to the normal homeostasis of the body. Specific transporters on the apical and basolateral membranes of the hepatocyte are necessary for the liver to carry out its tasks of clearing xenobiotics from the blood, for metabolizing drugs, for synthesizing cholesterol and bile salts, and producing bile which is necessary for digestion of fats. In conditions of cholestasis, the liver cannot carry out many of these tasks normally. My research involves understanding the role of these membrane transporters in health and disease; specifically, studying adaptive changes which occur in cholestasis to allow the body to compensate during the disease process. My research utilizes morphology, biochemistry and molecular biology in animal models of cholestasis.