You are here: MEDICA Portal. MEDICA Magazine. Archive. Alcohol.
Alcohol Helps Reduce Damage After Heart Attack
A sip a day keeps the doctor
away; © Hemera
"Following a heart attack, physicians try to establish reperfusion, or normalize the blood flow in the body,” said Ron Korthuis, distinguished professor and chair of medical pharmacology and physiology. "The damaged tissues begin releasing a variety of molecules that attract the white blood cells to the damaged areas. When the white blood cells arrive, they attach to the adhesion molecules on the blood vessel walls and then start destroying the damaged tissue. One type of adhesion molecule that is affected by the alcohol ingestion is P-selectin”
P-selectins make the artery walls sticky enough that the white blood cells will attach when they are in the affected areas. Using an animal model, Korthuis found that when alcohol was introduced to the system at a rate of one drink every 48 hours, the alcohol would trigger a chemical reaction in the body that would make the artery walls slick and stop the white blood cells from attaching to the damaged tissue. In subjects that were treated with the alcohol, the tissue affected by the low blood flow was much healthier and stronger than the untreated tissue. However, Korthuis warns that this is not a license to drink.
"Every time you take a drink of alcohol, you're killing brain cells,” Korthuis said. "We're trying to identify these chemical reactions so that we can develop a drug that would start this chain reaction, but not have the side effects of alcohol. We've also found other natural compounds have similar effects such as capsaicin, a compound in Tabasco sauce that creates that hot sensation.”
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Missouri-Columbia