antioxidant, MitoQ, has been
identified that can prevent liver damage caused by alcoholism.
The Researchers at the University of
Alabama in Birmingham (UAB
have discovered this new antioxidant, which they believe, could pave the way
for new methods of cirrhosis and cancer treatment.
has been found to be very effective in intercepting and
neutralizing free radicals in the livers of alcoholics' much before the
radicals begin to damage the organ.
organelle of the cell known as the "power house"
of the body. Here
energy gets converted into a form that can be used by cells.
For their study the UAB researchers
introduced the antioxidant MitoQ into the mitochondria of rats
alcohol -fed every day for 5-6 weeks. The amount of alcohol fed to the rats was
adequate enough to reflect excessive intake in humans.
During alcohol metabolism in the liver,
there is an increased production of free radicals, which can damage the mitochondria inside liver cells. This in
turn incapacitates the liver cells from using enough oxygen to create energy.
The low-oxygen condition (hypoxia) prevailing
within the mitochondria worsens mitochondrial damage and promotes fatty deposit
) which in turn can lead to cirrhosis or even liver
According to UAB researchers, MitoQ has
been able to intercept the free radicals
and neutralize them before they
cause damage to the mitochondria. The antioxidant has the ability to prevent
steatosis and, thereby, prevent liver diseases, such as cirrhosis.
According to lead researcher Dr Victor
Darley-Usmar "There has not been a promising pharmaceutical approach to
preventing or reversing the long-term damage associated with fatty deposits in
the liver that result from excessive consumption of alcohol .Our findings
suggest that MitoQ might be a useful agent
for treating the liver damage
caused by prolonged, habitual alcohol use."
Another useful information is that
research in the past has shown that MitoQ can be safely administered to humans
on a long-term basis
Dr Darley-Usmar and his team are having
talks with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a group of
based on their interactions with the mitochondria. Such drugs
hopefully could be effective in treating
diseases of the heart, kidney and also the neurodegenerative disorders.
It is also hoped that this work of research,
published recently in the "Hepatology" journal, might also be useful in
treating the rapidly- growing metabolic syndrome
which has impacted some
50 million Americans alone.