A team of researchers under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Teckman in the Department of Pediatrics at St. Louis University, have demonstrated that oxidative stress occurs in a genetic model of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. This is the most common genetic liver disorder in children and can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in adults. Some cases may require liver transplantation. The report, published in the October 2012 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, suggests that treatment with antioxidants might be of therapeutic benefit for some individuals.
"We have evidence of oxidative stress in livers from an animal model that expresses the classical Z variant form of alpha-1-antitrypsin. The animal model recapitulates the human liver disease, in which the livers accumulate polymers of alpha-1-antitrypsin mutant Z protein, developing fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma with age", says Dr. Marcus. Potentially, non-invasive treatment involving long-term regulation of antioxidant levels could ameliorate the oxidative stress and retard the advancement of disease.