Researchers have revealed a putative role for the circadian clock in the liver in the development of alcohol-induced hepatic steatosis, or fatty liver disease.
The team from the University of Notre Dame and the Indiana University School of Medicine has shown that the development of liver steatosis produced by alcohol abuse is intertwined with disturbances of the normal operation of the 24-hour clock system located in the cells of the liver.
The study has suggested that either the circadian clock is important in the actual development of the liver disease or that the development of steatosis disrupts the normal pattern of the clock mechanism.
The researchers said that the mechanism by which chronic alcohol intake is thought to alter the control of fat metabolism in the liver is also a shared signal to the circadian clock mechanism, this being the ratio of production of reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, and may be a key to the shared disturbance to the two biological mechanisms of lipid metabolism and the circadian clock.
The study was published this week in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports.