Undergrad's study to be published in scholarly journal

A manuscript based on research from the BGSU biochemistry laboratory, led by Dr. Arthur Brecher, chemistry, has been accepted for publication this year in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences. The editor-in-chief of the publication is a physician on the faculty of Stanford Medical School.

Dr. Arthur Brecher and Sarah Murrey in Chicago last year following her presentation at a research conference

The paper concerns the health implications for alcoholics of a compound found in liquor. Its publication is unusual because the article was written, and the research conducted, by Sarah Murrey, an undergraduate student in Brecher’s laboratory. A senior in the Medical Technology Program of the Department of Public and Allied Health, Murrey will graduate in August. She presented the results of the study last year at the Central Society for Clinical Research conference in Chicago, where it was very well received, according to Brecher.

The manuscript also marks an interesting milestone for Brecher, coming exactly 60 years after he achieved his first co-authorship as a technician working at Columbia Medical Center, in 1949. He has surpassed 60 years as a professional publishing biochemist and has worked at BGSU for 40 years.

The title of Murrey’s manuscript is “Interaction of Biogenic Amine Hormones with Acetaldehyde.”  

“The essence of the manuscript focuses on Sarah’s observations on the effect of five highly active neurohormones which interact chemically with acetaldehyde,” Brecher said.

“Acetaldehyde is approximately five times as toxic as ethanol. It is a highly reactive molecule that interacts with proteins, nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), carbohydrates, lipids, and components of the proteins, namely, peptides and amino acids. Hence, it can and does do much physiological and pharmacological damage to alcoholics,” he explained.

“We have been studying the effect of acetaldehyde upon the blood coagulation cascade system, and find that acetaldehyde prolongs blood clotting. And many alcoholics have a prolonged blood clotting time. It appeared to us that we could test the possibility that naturally occurring compounds in the body might react with acetaldehyde and interfere with its potential to prolong clotting. Even more importantly, the results suggest that acetaldehyde interferes with the hormonal functions in the body.”

March 2, 2009