Alcohol Metabolism during Development

  • Esteban Mezey
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 46)


Ethanol has been used recently in obstetrics and in neonatal pediatrics for three principal therapeutic reasons: prevention of premature labor, reduction of anticipated neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, and parenteral nutrition. The use of ethanol in the prevention of premature labor is based on its inhibitory effect on uterine activity in early labor; it presumably acts by inhibiting the release of oxytocin from the neurohypophysis (Fuchs et al., 1967). Ethanol when administered to near-term or term pregnant patients has been shown to reduce hyperbilirubinemia in the neonates (Waltman et al., 1969). Its use has been suggested, therefore, to reduce anticipated hyperbilirubinemia in those neonates in which high serum bilirubin may be expected, such as premature infants. The reduction of bilirubin after ethanol administration is probably due to increased glucuronidation of bilirubin since ethanol has been demonstrated to stimulate a variety of microsomal enzymes in both animals and man (Rubin et al., 1968) . Finally, ethanol has been used extensively for parenteral nutrition in premature neonates (Babson, 1971), as well as in adult surgical patients (Karp et al., 1951). Ethanol when oxidized provides seven calories per gram.


Premature Infant Parenteral Nutrition Alcohol Dehydrogenase Fetal Liver Adult Liver 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esteban Mezey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The Alcoholism Research Unit & Department of MedicineBaltimore City HospitalsBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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