Journal of Biomedical Science

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 37–43

Ethanol and oxidative mechanisms in the brain

  • Albert Y. Sun
  • Grace Y. Sun

DOI: 10.1007/BF02255969

Cite this article as:
Sun, A.Y. & Sun, G.Y. J Biomed Sci (2001) 8: 37. doi:10.1007/BF02255969


There is strong evidence showing that chronic and excessive ethanol consumption may enhance oxidative damage to neurons and result in cell death. Although not yet well understood, ethanol may enhance ROS production in brain through a number of pathways including increased generation of hydroxyethyl radicals, induction of CYP2E1, alteration of the cytokine signaling pathways for induction of iNOS and sPLA2, and production of prostanoids through the PLA2/COX pathways. Since many neurodegenerative diseases are also associated with oxidative and inflammatory mechanisms in the brain, it would be important to find out whether chronic and excessive ethanol consumption may exacerbate the progression of these diseases. There is evidence that the polyphenolic antioxidants, especially those extracted from grape skin and seed, may protect the brain from neuronal damage due to chronic ethanol administration. Among the polyphenols from grapes, resveratrol seems to have unique antioxidant properties. The possible use of this compound as a therapeutic agent to ameliorate neurodegenerative processes should be further explored.

Key Words

EthanolOxidative neuronal damageResveratrolPolyphenols

Copyright information

© National Science Council 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert Y. Sun
    • 1
  • Grace Y. Sun
    • 2
  1. 1.Pharmacology DepartmentUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA