Rate-Determining Factors for Ethanol Metabolism in Vivo during Fasting

  • L. Lumeng
  • W. F. Bosron
  • T.-K. Li


Fasting produces a decrease in ethanol elimination rate of as much as 40% in rats and hamsters. In order to identify the biochemical process responsible for this change, the maximal activity of ADH, the cytosolic free NAD+/NADH ratio and the concentration of ethanol and acetaldehyde in liver were measured in both fed and 48 h fasted rats and hamsters after ethanol administration. While the maximal ADH activity of liver decreased 40% or more with fasting, only a small difference in NAD+/NADH ratio was observed between fed and fasted animals both 1 and 2 h following the administration of ethanol. Calculations of the steady-state rates of oxidation of ethanol by rat ADH revealed that the enzyme is rate-limited primarily by the concentration of free NAD+ in cytosol but that the steady-state rates of ethanol oxidation by ADH are 80–90% of the in vivo ethanol elimination rates. With fasting, the percentage decrease in steady-state rates was identical to that for ADH activity and for the in vivo elimination rate. These results indicate that changes in rates of oxidation of NADH and acetaldehyde contribute little toward the decrease in ethanol elimination rate associated with fasting but that the change in liver ADH activity or content is primarily responsible.


Elimination Rate Ethanol Administration Ethanol Metabolism Alcohol Metabolism NADH Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Lumeng
    • 1
  • W. F. Bosron
    • 1
  • T.-K. Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Veterans Administration Hospital and Indiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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