New research from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) may help prevent damage to the liver caused by drugs like acetaminophen and other stressors.
Acetaminophen, more commonly known as Tylenol, helps relieve pain and reduce fever. The over-the-counter drug is a major ingredient in many cold and flu remedies as well as prescription painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin.
However, metabolized by the liver, acetaminophen is the most common cause of drug-induced liver disease and acute liver failure in the United States and United Kingdom. Tylenol's maker announced in July that it was lowering the maximum recommended daily dosage to 3,000 milligrams to help prevent accidental overdoses.
Doctors at the Keck School of Medicine of USC have identified a protein on the mitochondria of liver cells in mice that, when silenced, protects against liver toxicity usually associated with excess doses of acetaminophen.
They found that the protein Sab, or SH3-domain binding protein 5, binds with the enzyme JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase). JNK regulates cellular metabolism and survival in response to stress, protecting cells when activated for brief intervals. However, JNK also kills cells when activated for prolonged periods of time.
"Because the short-term activation of JNK is associated with cell survival, Sab is potentially a better target than inhibiting JNK, which could have adverse effects," said Neil Kaplowitz, M.D., the study's lead investigator and professor of medicine at the Keck School.
Researchers have long believed that acetaminophen was converted into toxic metabolites that, in excess, overwhelm liver cells, causing them to die. In a 2008 study, Kaplowitz, who holds the Keck School's Thomas H. Brem Chair in Medicine and Veronica P. Budnick Chair in Liver Disease, and other USC colleagues turned that theory around — they found that it was not the metabolite, but rather the sustained activation of JNK that harmed the organ. By inhibiting JNK activation in mice, injury to the liver caused by large doses of acetaminophen was avoided.
In the current study, published online by the Journal of Biological Chemistry in August, the scientists silenced Sab in mice, which did not affect the metabolism of acetaminophen but successfully prevented liver injury. They also tested the effect on liver injury caused by apoptosis, or programmed cell death in response to inflammatory proteins that are implicated in many diseases and tissues — silencing Sab protected the liver in that case, too.
"We proved that the sustained activation of JNK targets Sab and is a requirement for the subsequent death of liver cells," Kaplowitz said. "We then showed that it is a universal effect. Developing a drug to protect against cell death, one could argue to target JNK — but that's a double-edged sword. This provides a whole new target: Create a drug that inhibits the interaction between JNK and Sab."
Co-authors include Sanda Win, Tin Aung Than, Derick Han and Lydia M. Petrovic. Their research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Alison Trinidad | EurekAlert!
Rochester scientists discover gene controlling genetic recombination rates
23.04.2018 | University of Rochester
One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News