Metabolic Actions of Ethanol

  • Enrique Baraona
  • Charles S. Lieber


Two of the earliest and most conspicuous features of the hepatic damage produced by alcohol are the deposition of fat and the enlargement of the liver. This hepatomegaly was traditionally attributed to the accumulation of lipids. However, in animals fed alcohol-containing diets, lipids account for only half the increase in liver dry weight (Lieber et al, 1965), and it was recently shown that the other half is almost totally accounted for by an increase in proteins (Baraona et al., 1975) (Fig. 1). The increase involves mainly soluble proteins, the accumulation of which is accompanied by a proportional retention of water. The increases in lipid, protein, and water result in increased size of the hepatocytes. Since the number of hepatocytes and the hepatic content of DNA do not change after alcohol treatment, the hepatomegaly is entirely accounted for by the increased cell volume.


Alcoholic Liver Disease Chronic Ethanol Liver Slice Moderate Alcohol Consumption Chronic Alcohol Consumption 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Baraona
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charles S. Lieber
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Alcoholism Research and Treatment CenterVeterans Administration Medical CenterBronxUSA
  2. 2.Mount Sinai School of MedicineCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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