Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)

Vitamin-dependent methionine metabolism and alcoholic liver disease.

PMID 22332083


Emerging evidence indicates that ethanol-induced alterations in hepatic methionine metabolism play a central role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease (ALD). Because malnutrition is a universal clinical finding in this disease and hepatic methionine metabolism is dependent upon dietary folate and vitamins B-6 and B-12, ALD can be considered an induced nutritional disorder that is conditioned by alcohol abuse. The present review describes the etiologies of these 3 vitamin deficiencies in ALD and how they interact with chronic ethanol exposure to alter hepatic methionine metabolism. Subsequent sections focus on molecular mechanisms for the interactions of aberrant methionine metabolism with ethanol in the pathogenesis of ALD, in particular the role of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) in regulating the epigenetic expressions of genes relevant to pathways of liver injury. The review will conclude with descriptions of studies on the efficacy of SAM in the treatment of ALD and with discussion of potentially fruitful future avenues of research.