Feb 23, 2019 | Updated: 08:52 AM EST

Alchohol-induced Liver Damage Could Be Treated With Enzyme Treatment, Study Shows

Apr 27, 2017 03:54 AM EDT


A recent study shows that an intestinal enzyme might be the solution to prevent or reduce the liver damage due to excess alcohol consumption after it was examined in mouse models. This intestinal enzyme keeps bacterial toxins from passing through the gastrointestinal system to the bloodstream.

In a paper published by a research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), it was described how oral doses of intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) could prevent the development of fatty liver in mouse models of binge drinking and chronic alcohol consumption. The paper, titled as "Intestina l Alkaline Phosphatase Attenuates Alcohol-Induced  Hepatoseatosis in Mice," was already published in Springer Link and would appear in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

"Liver damage is one of the most devastating effects of excess alcohol consumption, and so blocking this process could save millions of lives lost to alcohol-related liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer," Dr. Richard Hodin of the MGH Department of Surgery said. Hodin also serves as the senior author of the study.

He added that along with direct toxic effects on the liver itself, alcohol also appears to damage the liver with its effects on the intestinal lining by allowing bacterial toxins from the gut to cross the barrier and arriving at the liver. "Since we know that IAP works to maintain a healthy gut barrier by blocking passage of an important toxic molecule, we investigated its potential to protect the liver from alcohol-induce damage," Hodin said.

In a previous research done by the research team, it has been revealed that IAP was able to help in maintaining a healthy intestinal microbial population through blocking the damaging effects of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a molecule which is responsible for the toxic effects of several species of bacteria. The enzyme's anti-LPS effects also observed to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome in mice having a high-fat diet, Science Daily has reported.

The research team also investigated whether oral IAP supplementation could prevent alcoholic liver disease with both detoxifications of the LPS released by gut bacteria and by preventing the passage of it from the gut into the liver's blood supply. LPS was known to play a role in the inflammation of the alcohol-induced liver and its levels are known to rise with alcohol consumption.

They also concluded that the test indicated on giving IAP either before or at the same time as an alcohol dose reduced levels of the ALT enzyme, which is a common sign of liver damage. It also reduced the accumulation of fat in the liver and reduce the production of inflammatory factors.

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