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Alcohol Alcohol. 2000 Jan;35(1):98-103.

Cytochrome P-450 2E1 activity and oxidative stress in alcoholic patients.

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  • 1Faculté de Médecine de Brest, EA 948, Laboratoire de Biochimie, BP 815, 29285 Brest, and Service d'Alcoologie, Hôpital de Bohars, CHU de Brest, France.


As cytochrome P-450 2E1 (CYP2E1) induction was related to oxidative stress in experimental models, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between CYP2E1 activity and markers of oxidative stress in 40 alcoholic patients entering a rehabilitation programme. Plasma oxidized proteins, lipid peroxides (LPO) and antibodies against hydroxyethyl radical (HER) or malondialdehyde (MDA) adducts were assessed as markers of the production of free radicals, whereas vitamin E levels were evaluated as a marker of the antioxidant defence. CYP2E1 activity was determined by using the 6-hydroxychlorzoxazone:chlorzoxazone blood metabolic ratio, 2 h after drug intake. This ratio was increased by 4-fold in alcoholics, compared to non-alcoholic patients, and was correlated with daily intake of ethanol, carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, and blood alcohol level at the time of admission to hospital. Plasma levels of LPO and oxidized proteins were slightly increased (20%) in alcoholic patients when compared with the control group, whereas those of vitamin E were found to be slightly decreased (by 18%). Antibodies against HER or MDA adducts showed a very significant increase. However, when alcoholic patients were divided into two groups according to low or high CYP2E1 induction, no significant difference was observed in the variation of these parameters, except for anti-HER adducts antibodies. Therefore, our study confirms the main involvement of CYP2E1 in HER production. By contrast, CYP2E1 does not appear to be the main factor responsible for the oxidative stress occurring during human chronic alcoholism. Free radicals from other sources may therefore contribute significantly to the generation of this oxidative stress.

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