Role of S-adenosylmethionine, folate, and betaine in the treatment of alcoholic liver disease: Summary of a symposium

Vishnudutt Purohit, Manal F. Abdelmalek, Shirish Barve, Norlin J. Benevenga, Charles H. Halsted, Neil Kaplowitz, Kusum K. Kharbanda, Qi Ying Liu, Shelly C. Lu, Craig J. McClain, Christine Swanson, Samir Zakhari

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This report is a summary of a symposium on the role of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), betaine, and folate in the treatment of alcoholic liver disease (ALD), which was organized by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in collaboration with the Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD) and held on 3 October 2005. SAM supplementation may attenuate ALD by decreasing oxidative stress through the up-regulation of glutathione synthesis, reducing inflammation via the down-regulation of tumor necrosis factor-α and the up-regulation of interleukin-10 synthesis, increasing the ratio of SAMto S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), and inhibiting the apoptosis of normal hepatocytes and stimulating the apoptosis of liver cancer cells. Folate deficiency may accelerate or promote ALD by increasing hepatic homocysteine and SAH concentrations; decreasing hepaticSAMand glutathione concentrations and the SAM-SAH ratio; increasing cytochrome P4502E1 activation and lipid peroxidation; up-regulating endoplasmic reticulum stress markers, including sterol regulatory element- binding protein-1, and proapoptotic gene caspase-12; and decreasing global DNA methylation. Betaine may attenuate ALD by increasing the synthesis of SAM and, eventually, glutathione, decreasing the hepatic concentrations of homocysteine and SAH, and increasing the SAM-SAH ratio, which can trigger a cascade of events that lead to the activation of phosphatidylethanolamine methyltransferase, increased phosphatidylcholine synthesis, and formation of VLDL for the export of triacylglycerol from the liver to the circulation. Additionally, decreased concentrations of homocysteine can down-regulate endoplasmic reticulum stress, which leads to the attenuation of apoptosis and fatty acid synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-24
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Alcohol
  • Betaine
  • Folate
  • Liver disease
  • S-adenosylmethionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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