Fast foods: Harmful effects of food products on the intestine and liver – AGEs and RAGEs

Project Details

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are complexes of reducing sugars and proteins formed when proteins are overheated in the presence of fats and sugars (e.g. by deep frying). They are low in traditional diets but are common in so‐called fast foods. We have evidence that AGEs are detrimental to intestinal and liver function. We have discovered receptors for AGES (RAGEs) in the intestine. This project builds on preliminary data that indicates that AGEs precipitate or exacerbate non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which is predicted to become the leading cause of cirrhosis, end‐stage liver disease, and ultimately liver transplantation.

This project will provide you with the opportunity to conduct experiments that closely link animal models and human disease.


Dr Leni Rivera
Dr Ruslan Pustovit
Dr Brid Callaghan
Prof John Furness.

Research Publications

Rivera LR, Leung C, Pustovit RV, Hunne BL, Andrikopoulos S, Herath C, Testro A, Angus PW, Furness JB. Damage to enteric neurons occurs in mice that develop fatty liver disease but not diabetes in response to a high-fat diet. Neurogastroenterology and Motility 2014 Jun 23.

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Infection & Immunity, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Therapeutics & Translation

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Neuroscience

Unit / Centre

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition