Reversible Effects of Ethanol on E. coli

  • L. O. Ingram
  • B. F. Dickens
  • T. M. Buttke
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 126)


The primary site of action of ethanol and other general anesthetics on the nervous system is the cell membrane (Hill and Bangham, 1975; Lee, 1977). These drugs have been shown to intercalate into biological membranes and this intercalation has been correlated with the anesthetic effect (Seeman, 1972; Hubbell and McConnel, 1968; Roth and Seeman, 1972). The potency of general anesthetics is directly related to their lipid solubility, indicating a hydrophobic site of action (Lee, 1976; Seeman, 1972). Within the membrane, there are three major types of hydrophobic sites for the intercalation of ethanol: between adjacent lipid molecules, at the lipid/protein boundary and in hydrophobic regions of proteins. Studies with ethanol (Roth and Seeman, 1972; Hill, 1974; Paterson, et al., 1972; Hui and Barton, 1973) and other general depressants have demonstrated that these drugs alter the physical properties of membranes by interacting at one or more of these sites. It is these changes which have been proposed as the basis of anesthesia (Lee, 1977; Lee, 1976).


Fatty Acid Composition Unsaturated Fatty Acid Fatty Acid Synthesis Lipid Change Vaccenic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. O. Ingram
    • 1
  • B. F. Dickens
    • 1
  • T. M. Buttke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Cell ScienceUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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