Serum Total Thiol Status in Alcohol Abusers
Jeevan K. Shetty,
Panambur V. Bhandary
Thiol (-SH) groups are the major intracellular and extracellular
reducing agents. This study estimates such thiol groups in alcohol abusers.
Serum total thiols and liver function test parameters were estimated by
spectrophotometric methods in alcohol abusers on admission (group I) and
thirty days after alcohol abstinence along with life style modification
(group II) and in non-alcoholic healthy controls. Serum amino transaminases,
gamma glutamyl transpeptidase levels were increased and total thiols,
total proteins and albumin levels were decreased in group I cases compared
to group II cases and controls. Total thiols status improved significantly
along with tranasaminases and transapeptidase with thirty days of alcohol
abstinence and life style modification. In conclusion, total thiol status
is decreased in alcohol abusers and abstinence of alcohol along with life
style modification improves thiol antioxidant status and liver function.
Hepatocytes synthesize albumin, which is a major plasma protein. The
SH groups present on protein are considered as major antioxidants in
vivo and most of them are present over albumin (Himmelfarb et al.,
2000). The thiol groups are the major reducing groups present in our body
fluids (Himmelfarb et al., 2001). Contribution of glutathione to
total thiol status is minor; hence majority of total thiol status is contributed
from albumin bound thiol groups (Hu, 1994). The levels of protein SH in
the body indicate antioxidant status and low levels of protein SH correlated
with increased levels of lipid hydroperoxides (Prakash et al.,
2004) and Advanced Oxidation Protein Products (AOPP) (Himmelfarb et
Chronic consumption of alcohol causes fatty acids accumulation
in hepatocytes and decreases its functional capacity (Lieber, 2000). Presence
of free radicals and oxidative damage in alcoholism has been proved by
several authors by measuring various oxidants and antioxidants in the
body fluids (Albano, 2006; Lieber, 1997). The involvement of free radical
mechanisms in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease is demonstrated
by the detection of lipid peroxidation markers in the liver and in the
serum of patients with alcoholism, as well as by experiments in alcohol-feed
rodents that showed a relationship between alcohol-induced oxidative stress
and the development of liver pathology (Albano, 2006). Recent study by
Lash indicated that there is depletion or oxidation of mitochondrial glutathione
pool in alcoholic liver disease (Lash, 2006), but very few studies reported
serum total thiol status in alcohol abusers associated with alcoholic
liver disease. To our knowledge none of the previous studies reported
the effect of alcohol abstinence on thiols status.
In light of these data, the current study was designed to investigate, a) the levels of serum
total thiols in alcohol abusers, b) the effect of alcohol abstinence on
total thiol status and c) the relationship between total thiols, alanine
aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and Gamma Glutamyl
Transferase (GGT) levels in alcohol abusers at the time of admission and
thirtieth day after abstinence and in non-alcoholic healthy volunteers.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was carried out on 50 alcohol abusers and 55 non-alcoholic
healthy volunteers in the department of Biochemistry, Kasturba Medical
College, Manipal, India in October 2006. Informed consent was taken from
all subjects involved in the study and was approved by institutional review
board. Alcohol abusers were recruited from AV Baliga Memorial Hospital,
Udupi, India, who voluntarily attended the alcohol de-addiction camp conducted
in the same hospital. They were consuming 70-90 g day-1 ethanol
since 18±10 years before attending the camp. All alcohol abusers
were admitted in the same hospital and were on oral benzodiazepines for
seven days followed by 800 mg of Disulfiram on the first day then the
dosage was gradually decreased to maintenance dose of 200 mg day-1.
They were given life style modification training including daily yoga,
pranayama, meditation, prayers, moderate diet less in cholesterol and
salt, energy 2400 kcal day-1, individual counseling, group
therapy, family counseling. They were trained for ten days in the hospital
and were discharge on advice to continue it for themselves and report
after thirty days. On reporting, history was taken and few of them were
continued taking alcohol after discharge from the hospital and they were
excluded from this study. The alcohol abusers were classified into two
groups, group I-cases at the time of admission, group II-thirtieth day
after admission. Healthy volunteers were non-alcoholic, non-smokers and
free from any chronic inflammatory diseases and were not on any kind of
medications. The other demographic and clinical characteristics are reported
in Table 1.
Samples and Reagents
Under aseptic conditions blood samples (5 mL) were drawn into plain
vacutainers, free of iron contamination, from antecubital veins of cases
at the first medical examination and thirtieth day after abstinence and
healthy volunteers. The collected blood was allowed to clot for 30 min
and then centrifuged at 2000 g for 15 min for clear separation of serum.
All assays were performed immediately after serum was separated. Special
chemicals were obtained from Sigma chemicals, St Louis, MO, USA. All other
reagents obtained were of analytical grade.
Serum total thiols were measured by a spectrophotometric method using
5Â´ 5Â´ dithio-bis (2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB) (Motchnik, 1994). Nine hundred
microliter of 0.2 M Na2HPO4 containing 2 mM Na2EDTA,
100 μL serum and 20 μL of 10 mM DTNB in 0.2 M Na2HPO4
were taken in an Eppendorf tube and warmed to 37°C. The solution was
mixed in a vortex mixer and transferred to a cuvette and the absorbance
was measured at the end of 5 min at 412 nm. Both sample and reagent blanks
were prepared and absorbances were noted at 412 nm. The absorbance of
sample and reagent blank were subtracted from serum absorbance values
to obtain the corrected values. The calibration curve was produced using
glutathione dissolved in Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS). The total thiol
concentration in serum was determined from the standard curve using the
corrected absorbance values for serum.
|| Demographic and clinical characteristics of alcohol
abusers and non-alcoholic healthy controls (expressed in mean±SD)
Liver Function Tests
Serum transaminase [aspartate amino transferase (AST) and alanine
amino transferase (ALT)] activities, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GGT)
activity, total protein and albumin levels were estimated by using automated
analyser (Hitachi 911).
The results were expressed as mean±standard deviation (SD).
A p<0.05 was considered statistically significant. Statistical analysis
was performed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS-10,
Chicago, USA). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to calculate the
mean values followed by multiple comparisons by post-hoc test to compare
mean values in three groups. Pearson correlation was applied to correlate
between the parameters.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Serum total thiol levels were significantly decreased and transaminases
and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase levels were significantly increased
in group I cases compared to group II and healthy controls. There was
significant increase in total thiols and significant decrease in transaminases
and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase activities on alcohol abstinence for
30 days (group II cases) compared to alcohol abusers (group I cases) (Table
2). Protein thiols correlated positively with and albumin (r = 0.430,
p<0.01). However, transaminases and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase did
not correlate with total thiols.
Previous studies demonstrated the role of metallothionein and zinc in
protecting liver against alcohol induced oxidative liver damage (Zhou
et al., 2002b). The availability of thiol groups either as glutathione
or protein thiols will reduce the powerful oxidants to protect biomolecules.
Present study demonstrates decrease in total thiols (both glutathione
and protein bound thiols) in alcohol abusers and such decrease in thiols
in alcohol abusers may increase the oxidative injury to biomolecules.
Presence of oxidative stress in alcohol abusers reported by other authors
may be due to decrease in thiol antioxidant (Zhou et al., 2002a).
Since albumin carries majority of thiol groups available over
|| Total thiols and liver function test parameters
in alcohol abusers before and after abstinence and in non-alcoholic
healthy controls (expressed in mean±SD)
|*: p<0.01 compared to healthy controls and alcohol
abusers after abstinence, **: p<0.05 compared to healthy controls
proteins, decrease in total proteins particularly albumin levels may
decrease available thiol groups to fight against oxidants (Himmelfarb
et al., 2000; Prakash et al., 2004). Thirty days of alcohol
abstinence along with life style modification that included regular yoga
and meditation significantly decreased serum levels of amino transferases,
GGT and improved the levels of protein thiols. Positive correlation of
protein thiols with albumin indicates majority of thiols that contribute
to antioxidant status resides on proteins, particularly albumin. Hence
levels of albumin determine the total thiol status in the body. Baraona
et al. (1977) reported alcohol induced protein accumulation in
the liver. They reported that alcohol causes decreased export of synthesized
proteins from hepatocytes which lead to decrease in circulating albumin.
This may lead to decreased availability of thiols present over albumin
for it antioxidant function. Fiorelli et al. (2002) reported increased
consumption of reduced glutathione with increasing severity of alcoholic
non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis. In this scenario decreased availability
of thiols may increase the oxidative damage in alcohol abusers associated
with alcohol induced liver disease. This study reports decreased total
thiol status, which is a major antioxidant available in the body fluids,
in alcohol abusers and supports the previously published studies reporting
decreased antioxidants level in alcohol abusers. However, lack of correlation
between total thiols and transaminases and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase
requires further properly designed studies on large number of homogenous
study group to know the role of thiol status in various liver diseases.
In conclusion, total thiols are decreased in alcohol abusers and abstinence
from alcohol along with life style modification improves thiol antioxidants
and liver function.
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