Alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzymes in rat development. Effect of maternal ethanol consumption

M. Dolors Boleda, Jaume Farrés, Consuelo Guerri, Xavier Parés

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) isoenzymes (alcohol:NAD oxidoreductase, EC of classes I, III and IV were investigated by activity and starch gel electrophoresis analyses during rat ontogeny. Class I was studied in the liver, class III in the brain and class IV in the stomach and eyes. Classes I and IV exhibited very low activity during the fetal period, reaching 12% and 3%, respectively, of the adult value at birth. Class III was relatively more active in the fetus, with 38% of the adult activity at birth. In the three cases, activity increased after birth and adult values were found around day 20 (classes I and III), day 39 (stomach class IV) and after day 91 (eye class IV). The very low activity of the isoenzymes responsible for ethanol oxidation, i.e. liver class I and stomach class IV, in the fetus demonstrates that metabolism of ethanol during gestation is essentially performed by the maternal tissues. Development of ADH isoenzymes were also studied in the offspring of rats exposed to an alcoholic liquid diet. Activities of liver class I and stomach class IV were severely reduced: they were only 30% and 50%, respectively, of the control values. In contrast, eye class IV activity did not change and brain class III showed a 30% increase. Moreover, the concentration of liver soluble protein exhibited a 1.3-1.5-fold increase with respect to control animals. The effects on activities and liver protein were more pronounced in the adult than in the perinatal period, and they seem irreversible since normal values were not recovered after 6 weeks of feeding with a non-alcoholic diet. The low activities of the alcohol-oxidizing isoenzymes indicate that maternal ethanol consumption results in an impaired ethanol metabolism of the offspring. © 1992.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1561
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1992


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