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Effect of age and gender on in vivo ethanol elimination, hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase activity, and NAD+ availability in F344 rats

Summary

It has been reported that aging strikingly decreases in vivo ethanol metabolism in F344 rats without major effects on hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) activity. Because hepatic ADH activity is not always rate limiting in the oxidation of ethanol, we measured in vivo ethanol elimination rate (EER), hepatic ADH activity, and the hepatic-cytoplasmic and mitochondrial redox states after acute ethanol application in 2- and 12-month-old F344 rats of both sexes. In male, but not in female, animals EER decreased with age significantly, by 28% (P<0.01). The body-to-liver weight ratio was significantly increased in male (39.4±1.5 vs 46.5±2.0;P<0.05), but not in female, animals with age. Specific activity of ADH was not significantly changed by age, while the activity was significantly reduced with age in male, but not female, rats when related to body weight (5.1±0.4 vs 3.9±0.3 μmoles/100 g b.wt./min;P<0.05). The cytoplasmic, but not the mitochondrial (NAD+) to (NADH), ratio was significantly decreased with age in male livers (317±48 vs 793±128,P<0.05), while this was not the case in female livers. In summary, the data show a sex dependence of the effect of age on ethanol metabolism. The observed reduction in in vivo EER with age in male animals is due at least in part to an increased body-to-liver weight ratio, decreased hepatic ADH activity, and reduced availability of NAD+, the cofactor of the ADH reaction. The cause of this may be decreased transport of reducing equivalents through the mitochondrial membrane due to a lack of shuttle systems or a change in the physicochemical properties of the mitochondrial membrane, or decreased reutilization of NADH as NADPH resulting from a reduction of microsomal ethanol oxidation with age.

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Seitz, H.K., Xu, Y., Simanowski, U.A. et al. Effect of age and gender on in vivo ethanol elimination, hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase activity, and NAD+ availability in F344 rats. Res. Exp. Med. 192, 205–212 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02576276

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02576276

Key words

  • Ethanol metabolism
  • Aging
  • Hepatic redox state
  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Nicotine adenine dinucleotide