S-Adenosylmethionine generation and prevention of alcoholic fatty liver by betaine

Anthony J. Barak, Harriet C. Beckenhauer, Dean J. Tuma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Earlier studies by other investigators have shown that S-adenosylmethinione (SAM) has the capacity to attenuate liver injury in experimental animals. In a recent study in this laboratory, it was shown that when supplemental dietary betaine was given to control and ethanol-fed rats at the level of 0.50% (W/V), SAM levels were doubled in the livers of control animals and increased fivefold in livers of ethanol-fed rats. The increased levels of SAM in the livers of ethanol-fed animals protected the livers from fatty infiltration due to ethanol feeding. In this study, an attempt was made to determine the minimum level of dietary betaine that protects against the fatty infiltration. Levels of betaine at 0.05%, 0.10%, 0.25%, and 0.50% in semiliquid control and alcohol diets were tested in rats for 30 days. When hepatic betaine, SAM, and triglyceride levels were determined, it was demonstrated that only the dietary level of betaine at 0.50% supplied enough hepatic betaine to generate the level of SAM that was required to protect against the alcoholic steatosis resulting from the dietary ethanol. These results suggest that betaine, when given in sufficient amounts, may be a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-503
Number of pages3
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1994


  • Betaine
  • Ethanol
  • Fatty infiltration
  • Liver injury
  • S-adenosylmethionine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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