A study conducted at the University of São Paulo's Biomedical Science Institute (ICB-USP) in Brazil suggests that this cardioprotective mechanism may be associated with activation of ALDH2 (aldehyde dehydrogenase-2), a mitochondrial enzyme that helps rid the organism of both the toxic byproducts of alcohol digestion and a type of reactive molecule produced in heart cells when they suffer major damage, such as that caused by a heart attack.
"Our data suggest moderate exposure to ethanol causes minor stress in heart cells but not enough to kill them. Intracellular signaling is reorganized as a result, and heart cells eventually create a biochemical memory to protect against stress, also known as preconditioning. When the cells are submitted to a higher level of stress, they know how to deal with it," said Julio Cesar Batista Ferreira, a professor in ICB-USP's Anatomy Department and principal investigator for the research project, which was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation -- FAPESP.
Researchers - Partnership - Scientists - Stanford - University The Brazilian researchers are working in partnership with scientists at Stanford University in the United States. Recent results obtained during Cintia Bagne Ueta's postdoctoral research have been published in Cardiovascular Research.
To study the cardioprotective effects of alcohol at the cellular level, the researchers simulated a condition similar to myocardial infarction in mouse hearts kept alive in an artificial system. In this ex vivo model, the heart continues to beat outside the body for several hours while being perfused with an oxygenated and nutrient-enriched solution.
Scientists - Condition - Injury - Flow - Oxygen The scientists then simulated a clinical condition known as ischemia-reperfusion injury by interrupting the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart for 30 minutes. When the flow was restarted, the heart began beating again slowly, and after an hour, the researchers assessed the damage. In this model, approximately 50% of cardiac cells die on average unless there is some type of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily