An antioxidant could be used to protect against liver disease caused by excessive alcohol, consumption.
This is according to new research from the University of Alabama, which has suggested that new treatments to reverse fatty deposits in the liver could be developed.
Chronic alcoholics who drink to excess every day tend to have a build-up of fat in their liver cells.
This can lead to cirrhosis and cancer as the alcohol is metabolized in the liver.
But the antioxidant MitoQ is able to intercept and neutralise the free radicals that are released in this process before they damage the mitochondria.
Dr Victor Darley-Usmar, who led the study, commented: "We know that free radicals play a role in human disease, and we have developed antioxidants that can eliminate free radicals in the laboratory.
"Unfortunately, previous trials using antioxidants in humans have not been as successful as anticipated. The difference with our current findings is that we targeted a specific part of the cell, the mitochondria. This is a unique approach, and this is one of the few pre-clinical trials that shows effectiveness."