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Alcohol leaves its mark on youngsters' DNA
Date:12/30/2013

n that the students regarded as harmless. The students got involved in the project in which Jess Velzquez (Autonomous University of Nayarit, Mexico) also participated, and after completing the necessary administrative requirements and enlisting the help of various experts in surveys and analysis, the aim of the study was specified: oxidative damage caused by the consumption of alcohol beverages in young people.

The students were divided into two groups: the control group made up of the students who did not drink alcohol and the study group of those who drank at weekends. To make sure that they were healthy individuals without any other diseases or addiction that could alter the results of the study, they underwent blood tests. The age of the students ranged between 18 and 23 and the average consumption of alcohol was 118 g, a litre and a half of beer, for example.

The activity of the alcohol enzyme dehydrogenase, responsible for metabolising ethanol into acetaldehyde, acetoacetate and acetone was measured. Oxidative damage is evaluated by a TBARS biochemical test (types that react to barbituric acid), and reflects the lipid peroxidation that affects the membrane due to the impact not only of the ethanol in the blood but also of the acetaldehyde produced by the action of the enzyme on the ethanol. Therefore, there are at least two means by which free radicals are formed and which can damage cell membrane integrity.

Although the researchers expected to find oxidative damage, they were surprised by the result, as Adela Rendn explained. "We saw that the ones who drank sustained twice as much oxidative damage compared with the group that did not consume alcohol," and they decided to continue with a test to assess whether the DNA was also affected: the comet test. They extracted the nucleus of the lymphocytic cells in the blood and subjected it to electrophoresis. "The interesting thing is that if the chromatin is not properly compacted, if the DNA has been
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Contact: Aitziber Lasa
a.lasa@elhuyar.com
34-943-363-040
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert  

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