Not only liver, alcohol bad for pancreas too

June 9th, 2008 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 9 (IANS) Taking excessive alcohol is known to damage organs like the liver, heart and brain - but a new study claims it damages the pancreas too. Scientists have now provided a new insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-caused damage to the pancreas in mice.

For example, rodents fed alcohol in their diet and then exposed to a drug known as carbachol, develop an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) similar to pancreatitis in people who drink too much.

Previous studies had suggested that the rodents develop pancreatitis because alcohol and carbachol cause pancreatic cells to release vesicles containing degradative proteins known as enzymes at inappropriate places.

The study conducted by Herbert Gaisano and colleagues at the University of Toronto and University Health Network, Canada, showed that a protein VAMP8, played an important role in coordinating inappropriate release of these vesicles in mice, exposed to alcohol and carbachol.

Conversely, mice lacking VAMP8 showed reduced pancreatitis after exposure to alcohol and carbachol.

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