Polyphenols Soften Alcohol’s Impact On Liver

Compounds found in wine and whisky reduce the harmful effects of ethanol on the liver, study shows.

AsianScientist (Jan. 30, 2015) – Polyphenols found in certain wines and spirits could play a role in dampening alcohol-induced stress by increasing the production of regulatory proteins, a study published in PLOS ONE has found.

“Chronic alcohol intake inflicts progressive damage on energy metabolism, while it causes significant change in hepatic gene expression profile,” explain Takumi Misaka, Akihito Yasuoka and colleagues from the University of Tokyo and Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology.

They compared the effects on gene regulation of alcohol administration with and without polyphenols to better understand these processes and identified a possible approach for suppressing alcohol-induced stress.

The researchers fed mice one of four liquid diets: with added ethanol alone; with added ethanol and ellagic acid (EA, a polyphenol found in wood in aged whisky); with added ethanol and trans-resveratrol (RSV, a polyphenol derived from grape peel in wine); and with added water as a control.

After five weeks the mice were sacrificed for study, revealing that while administration of ethanol alone led to four times the level of accumulated fatty acid in the liver, administration of EA or RSV with the ethanol reduced this to around the level of the control. Gene expression analysis also highlighted differences in the genes upregulated under administration of alcohol with or without polyphenols that suggest polyphenols may facilitate healthier metabolic processes.

The researchers then investigated the role of a nuclear receptor—constitutive androstane receptor (CAR)—known to respond to plant chemicals like EA and RSV. Gene expression analysis of CAR-deficient mice showed they were not receptive to the ameliorative effects of polyphenols administered with ethanol, suggesting CAR mediates these regulating effects.

They conclude their report saying, “Our study provides the molecular basis for the prevention of alcoholic fatty liver by polyphenols, which are commonly consumed food factors.”

The article can be found at: Yao et al. (2014) Nuclear Receptor-Mediated Alleviation of Alcoholic Fatty Liver by Polyphenols Contained in Alcoholic Beverages.


Source: Kawasaki City; Photo: Shutterstock.
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