Medical College receives $2.6 million grant to study alcohol liver disease

The Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Pennsylvania have received a joint, five-year $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study the role of an enzyme in alcohol liver disease.

Alcohol consumption is implicated in a number of diseases, including alcoholic liver disease, liver cancer, pancreatitis and other disorders.

An enzyme called CYP2E1, which is involved in alcohol metabolism, is known to contribute to alcohol liver injury, likely by inducing oxidative tissue damage. Recent studies suggest some carriers of unique variant forms of CYP2E1 are more prone to alcohol-induced toxicity.

In this study, the researchers will investigate the mechanisms of alcohol-induced mitrochondrial dysfunction. Ultimately, this research could lead to the development of antioxidants and enzyme inhibitors that would treat, reverse or minimize alcohol-induced liver damage.

Narayan Avadhani, Ph.D., the Harriet Ellison Woodward Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, and Balaraman Kalyanaraman, Ph.D., the Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson’s Research and professor and chairman of biophysics at MCW, are co-principal investigators of the grant.

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