We know that alcohol wrecks your liver and that the majority of liver disease is to do with alcohol intake and poor diet. But what are the mechanisms at play?
UAB doctoral student Uduak Udoh, a fifth-year doctoral student in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine, has uncovered some pathways around alcoholic liver disease, with the work earning her the Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Uduak’s dissertation project is called “Hepatic Glycogen Metabolism Is Impaired by Alcohol Consumption: Possible Role of the Liver Molecular Clock” and it connects chronic drinking, molecular clocks and energy storage patterns.
Uduak’s research has shown that chronic alcohol consumption disrupts the liver cells circadian rhythm AND the liver’s normal pattern of creating glycogen AND that alcohol disrupts signaling genes and proteins regulated by the liver clock that control glycogen metabolism.
When you are healthy, the ‘liver clock’ controls glycogen synthesis throughout the day in a regulated and rhythmic fashion. Alcohol stops this glycogen production. This then limits the fuel the liver has to fix the alcohol-related damage, caused by, of course, the drinking in the first place...
A double irony indeed and simply put; the drinking causes damage and then stops the liver from fixing the damage.