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New study reveals links between alcoholic liver disease and the circadian clock
Date:1/17/2014

to the development of cancer.

The liver plays many roles in the body, and includes control of metabolism, storage and release of energy molecules, and detoxification.

"Liver function changes daily in a rhythmic manner and is coordinated with cycles of feeding-fasting and to the energy demands of the body, such as activity and rest," Duffield said. "These daily rhythms are regulated by the circadian clock within those liver cells, and disturbances to the molecular clock mechanism or poor temporal coordination of the clock with the timing of eating, or the sleep-wake and rest-activity cycle, can lead to illness."

The study suggests that either the circadian clock is important in the actual development of the liver disease or that the development of steatosis disrupts the normal pattern of the clock mechanism. The researchers' findings also offer novel insights into how the disease might be manipulated for clinical purposes.

Interestingly, the mechanism by which chronic alcohol intake is thought to alter the control of fat metabolism in the liver is also a shared signal to the circadian clock mechanism, this being the ratio of production of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NADH, to NAD+. The authors suggest that this may be a key to the shared disturbance to the two biological mechanisms of lipid metabolism and the circadian clock.

The study, Zhou et al., was published this week in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports.


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Contact: Giles Duffield
Giles.E.Duffield.2@nd.edu
574-631-1834
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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