Friday, 19 January, 2018

How alcohol damages stem cell DNA and increases cancer risk

Kaduna Moves To Amend Law Prohibiting Alcohol Consumption How alcohol damages stem cell DNA and increases cancer risk
Ben Pena | 09 January, 2018, 20:51

A recent study has revealed that alcoholism damages DNA, which can increases the individual's likelihood of cancer.

Doctors have previously linked alcohol consumption to an increase risk of developing seven types of cancer, but until now, exactly how alcohol causes DNA damage hasn't been really clear.

"While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage", said lead author Ketan Patel of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

According to the latest study about the effects of alcohol on the human body, the findings are shocking.

In the study, the researchers used mice that did not possess either ALDH2 or FANCD2, or both, and gave them diluted alcohol for 10 days.

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Researchers at the United Kingdom -based Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology found that alcohol abuse can cause permanent damage to the DNA in the stem cells in charge of blood production. Acetaldehyde can cause irreversible DNA damage in blood stem cells, known as hematopoietic stem cells.

"This is lovely work, which puts our finger on the molecular basis for the link between alcohol and increased cancer risk and stem cells".

The researchers worked with three groups of mice: mice with both protection mechanisms in place; mice that didn't have the acetaldehyde-removing enzyme, called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, but did have the DNA fix mechanisms; and mice with neither the enzyme nor the DNA fix mechanisms.

Much previous research investigating the mechanisms by which alcohol causes cancer has been done in cell cultures. They found that acetaldehyde can destroy DNA in blood stem cells, leading to rearranged chromosomes and permanent DNA modification. So, when they drink, acetaldehyde builds up which causes a flushed complexion, and also leads to them feeling unwell. 'This paper provides very strong evidence that an alcohol metabolite causes DNA damage [including] to the all-important stem cells that go on to make tissues'. The first layer is a protective enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2), which prevents build-ups of acetaldehyde, and the second repairs the DNA damage. But they don't always work and some people carry mutations which mean their cells aren't able to carry out these repairs effectively.

In the study, when mice lacking a critical ALDH enzyme were given alcohol, their DNA suffered four times as damage compared with mice with a properly functioning version of the enzyme.

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