JOURNAL ARTICLE

Diet and risk of ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity: carbohydrate-fat relationships in rats

S Korourian, R Hakkak, M J Ronis, S R Shelnutt, J Waldron, M Ingelman-Sundberg, T M Badger
Toxicological Sciences: An Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology 1999, 47 (1): 110-7
10048159
Nutritional status is a primary factor in the effects of xenobiotics and may be an important consideration in development of safety standards and assessment of risk. One important xenobiotic consumed daily by millions of people worldwide is alcohol. Some adverse effects of ethanol, such as alcohol liver disease, have been linked to diet. For example, ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity in animal models requires diets that have a high percentage of the total calories as unsaturated fat. However, little attention has been given to the role of carbohydrates (or carbohydrate to fat ratio) in the effects of this important xenobiotic on liver injury. In the present study, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (8-10/group) were infused (intragastrically) diets high in unsaturated fat (25 or 45% total calories), sufficient protein (16%) and ethanol (38%) in the presence or absence of adequate carbohydrate (21 or 2.5%) for 42-55 days (d). Animals infused ethanol-containing diets adequate in carbohydrate developed steatosis, but had no other signs of hepatic pathology. However, rats infused with the carbohydrate-deficient diet had a 4-fold increase in serum ALT levels (p < 0.05), an unexpectedly high (34-fold) induction of hepatic microsomal CYP2E1 apoprotein (p < 0.001), and focal necrosis. The strong positive association between low dietary carbohydrate, enhanced CYP2E1 induction and hepatic necrosis suggests that in the presence of low carbohydrate intake, ethanol induction of CYP2E1 is enhanced to levels sufficient to cause necrosis, possibly through reactive oxygen species and other free radicals generated by CYP2E1 metabolism of ethanol and unsaturated fatty acids.

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