The modest consumption of alcohol has been reported to decrease the incidence of fatty liver or prevalence of steatohepatitis. Researchers investigated the effect of light alcohol consumption on liver function and gene expression in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
The study group was formed of 178 patients diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, subclassified into two groups for analysis based on the daily alcohol consumption: non-alcohol group and light alcohol consumer group (≤20 g of ethanol/ day). Clinical characteristics, liver histological features, gene expression, comprehensively analyzed using microarrays (BRB-Array tools), and molecular network were evaluated and compared between the two groups.
No significant differences in steatosis or inflammation score were noted among the groups. However, the ballooning and fibrosis scores were significantly lower in the light alcohol consumer group than in the non-alcohol group. Gene expression analysis revealed a marked inhibition of the pathways involved in the immune response in the light alcohol group compared to that in the non-alcohol group.
Light alcohol consumption might suppress activity of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis by reducing gene expression levels involved in the immune response. This inhibition in gene expression was associated with a lowering of liver fibrosis and hepatocellular injury, the authors conclude.
Source: Light alcohol consumption has the potential to suppress hepatocellular injury and liver fibrosis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Yamada K, Mizukoshi E, Seike T, Horii R, Kitahara M, Sunagozaka H, Arai K, Yamashita T, Honda M, Kaneko S. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 17;13(1):e0191026. . eCollection 2018.