Maslinic Acid Eases Alcohol-Related Liver Damage and Balances Gut Bacteria

Greg Howard
6th June, 2024

Maslinic Acid Eases Alcohol-Related Liver Damage and Balances Gut Bacteria

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Nanjing Forestry University found that maslinic acid (MA) from olives and hawthorn can reduce alcohol-induced liver injury
  • MA helps by protecting the intestinal barrier, reducing gut permeability, and preventing harmful bacteria from entering the bloodstream
  • MA also rebalances gut microbiota, decreasing harmful bacteria and increasing beneficial ones, which helps prevent liver damage
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a significant global health concern, causing severe liver damage due to chronic alcohol consumption. The disease progresses from alcoholic fatty liver (AFL) to more severe conditions like alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma[2][3]. Current therapeutic interventions, such as corticosteroids, offer limited long-term efficacy, highlighting the urgent need for new treatments[2]. Recent research by Nanjing Forestry University, China, has explored the potential of maslinic acid (MA), a compound found in olives and hawthorn, to mitigate alcohol-induced liver injury[1]. MA is known for its health-promoting properties, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective activities. This study specifically investigates the impact of MA on gut microbiota and its subsequent effects on liver health. The study found that MA effectively counteracts alcohol-induced liver injury and oxidative stress. It achieves this by mitigating damage to the intestinal barrier, reversing increased permeability, and reducing the translocation of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS is a component of the outer membrane of certain bacteria, and its movement into the bloodstream can trigger the LPS/Toll-like receptor 4 pathway, leading to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α and IL-1β. By preventing this activation, MA reduces inflammation and liver damage. Moreover, MA rebalances gut microbiota by decreasing the abundance of harmful bacteria and enhancing beneficial bacteria following alcohol consumption. This rebalancing is crucial because gut dysbiosis and increased gut permeability are key factors in the progression of ALD[4]. The absence of intestinal HIF-1α, a protein involved in maintaining gut barrier integrity, has been shown to exacerbate gut leakiness, leading to increased bacterial translocation and liver injury[4]. By modulating gut microbiota, MA helps maintain the gut-liver axis, thereby alleviating alcohol-induced liver damage. The findings from this study align with previous research indicating that edible food plants and their bioactive compounds can protect against ALD through various mechanisms, including anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, and gut microbiota modulation[2]. Furthermore, the study builds on earlier work that highlighted the role of specific intracellular signaling pathways, transcriptional factors, and aspects of innate immunity in the pathogenesis of ALD[3]. Despite the progress in understanding the disease, targeted therapies have remained elusive, making the discovery of MA's protective effects particularly significant. In conclusion, the study by Nanjing Forestry University demonstrates that maslinic acid can alleviate alcohol-induced liver injury by modulating gut microbiota and maintaining intestinal barrier integrity. These findings suggest that MA could be developed as a functional food ingredient for preventing or treating alcoholic liver disease, offering a promising new avenue for therapeutic intervention.



Main Study

1) Maslinic acid alleviates alcoholic liver injury in mice and regulates intestinal microbiota via the gut-liver axis.

Published 5th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Protective Mechanism of Edible Food Plants against Alcoholic Liver Disease with Special Mention to Polyphenolic Compounds.

3) Alcoholic liver disease: pathogenesis and new therapeutic targets.

4) Intestinal HIF-1α deletion exacerbates alcoholic liver disease by inducing intestinal dysbiosis and barrier dysfunction.

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