Alcohol and Aldehyde Metabolism in Brain

  • Boris Tabakoff
  • Catherine C. Gelpke
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 56)


The brain is highly sensitive to the effects of an array of drugs, which includes ethanol and its metabolite, acetaldehyde. Although the problem of alcoholism is an old one, little definitive data has emerged from research on the metabolism of ethanol in the central nervous system (CNS). In contrast, peripheral metabolism is fairly well documented, particularly in the case of liver where the greatest ethanol metabolism takes place. Other peripheral tissues such as kidney (1), intestine, lung (2) and blood (3) have been shown to also metabolize ethanol. In the case of liver the metabolism of ethanol to acetate has been shown to alter many homeostatic mechanisms (for review see 5), and such results would be expected to stimulate a search for a similar phenomenon in the central nervous system (CNS). It is specifically this qualitative effect of ethanol metabolism on the normal equilibrium in the CNS that is important, for the metabolism of ethanol by the brain would not contribute a great deal quantitatively to the overall disposition of ethanol and its metabolites in the mammal.


Alcohol Dehydrogenase Biogenic Amine Aldehyde Dehydrogenase Citric Acid Cycle Bovine Brain 


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© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris Tabakoff
    • 1
  • Catherine C. Gelpke
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryChicago Medical SchoolUSA

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