Posted on February 4, 2014
A study published February 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) pinpoints a target for new treatments to prevent acute liver damage and liver failure from acetaminophen overdose. It has been long known that overdose of the popular pain medication is associated with toxic levels of calcium in liver cells but how the calcium gets into the cells has not been identified. This research identified a channel transporting calcium across the cell membrane that is triggered by overdose, known as Transient Receptor Potential Melanostatine2 (TRPM2). Once the channel is activated, the cells become overloaded with calcium, leading to cell death. The study theorizes that by blocking this channel, the resultant calcium toxicity could be prevented or forestalled. Read a news report here.