Amino Acid Protects Liver from Oxidative Stress

Researchers in China revealed that the amino acid serine may prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by alleviating oxidative stress.

A research group in China has found that an amino acid supplement might be useful in the prevention of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by buffering against oxidative stress.

They published their discoveries in the Journal BBA Molecular Basis of Disease. NAFLD is the most common chronic liver disease around the world, affecting approximately one out of four people.

It is particularly common among obese people, wherein fatty deposits build up in the liver, impairing its function.

Earlier examinations have demonstrated that the amino acid serine may prevent NAFLD, however the exact mechanisms by which it achieves this effect was unclear.

In this research, scientists at the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture (ISA) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences researched the effects of serine supplementation on the synthesis of glutathione a major antioxidant pathway in biological systems and oxidative stress in mice fed with a high- fat diet (HFD).

They found that water supplemented with one percent serine increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in HFD-treated mice, suggesting that liver function was well-maintained.

Moreover, serine supplementation protected HFD- induced lipid accumulation and oxidative stress in the liver of mice.

Similar outcomes were obtained with primary human liver cells or hepatocytes. Besides, the scientists revealed that serine epigenetically modified the expression of glutathione synthesis-related genes and triggered the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway, which is all critical mechanisms for regulating oxidative stress in cells.

Dr. Zhou Xihong, a researcher at ISA said, “our discoveries shed new light on the utilization of serine in the prevention of NAFLD in humans”.

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