Researchers Identify Metabolic Mechanism for R-Lipoic Acid-Induced Cell Death in Liver Cancer Cells

April 11, 2017 Consumer Blog By

A new study that measured metabolite levels over time in starved rat liver cancer cells showed that treatment with R-Lipoic acid (RLA) inhibited glucose uptake and glycolysis, and led to decreased cellular glucose production from non-carbohydrate sources, which may help explain how the naturally occurring R form of LA promotes the death of hepatoma cells. Researchers supported their findings with measurements of amino acid metabolism and lactic acid production in RLA and untreated hepatoma cells, as reported in Journal of Medicinal Food, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Medicinal Food website until May 11, 2017.

RLA is an essential cofactor in cellular energy metabolism. Scientists demonstrated that concentrations of the amino acids glycine, threonine, and serine were significantly lower in RLA treated rat hepatoma cells compared to in untreated cells or cells treated with the racemic form of ALA. This indicates down-regulation of the Thr-Gly-Ser pathways and associated inhibition of gluconeogenesis from protein sources, as described in the article entitled “Time Course Effect of R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid on Cellular Metabolomics in Cultured Hepatoma Cells.”


  1. 11 April 2017 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers

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