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J Biomed Sci. 2001 Jan-Feb;8(1):20-7.

Intragastric ethanol infusion model for cellular and molecular studies of alcoholic liver disease.

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  • Department of Pathology, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 W. Carson St., Torrance, CA 90509, USA. French@humc.edu


The intragastric alcohol infusion rat model (IAIRM) of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) has been utilized in various laboratories to study various aspects of ALD pathogenesis including oxidative stress, cytokine upregulation, hypoxic damage, apoptosis, ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and CYP2E1 induction. The basic value of the model is that it produces pathologic changes which resemble ALD including microvesicular and macrovesicular fat, megamitochondria, apoptosis, central lobular and pericellular fibrosis, portal fibrosis, bridging fibrosis, central necrosis, and mixed inflammatory infiltrate including PMNs and lymphocytes. The model is valuable because the diet and ethanol intake are totally under the control of the investigator. A steady state can be maintained with high or low blood alcohol levels for long periods. The cycling of the blood alcohol levels, when a constant infusion rate of alcohol is maintained, simulates binge drinking. Using this model the importance of dietary fat, especially the degree of saturation of the fatty acids on the induction of liver pathology, has been documented. The role of endotoxin, the Kupffer cell, TNFalpha, and NADPH oxidase have been demonstrated. The importance of 2E1 in oxidative stress induction has been shown using inhibitors of the isozyme. The importance of dietary iron in the pathogenesis of cirrhosis has been documented. Acetaldehyde has been shown to play a role in preventing liver pathology by preventing NFkappaB activation. Using the model, to maintain high blood alcohol levels is found to be necessary to demonstrate proteasomal peptidase inhibition. Ubiquitin synthesis is also inhibited at high blood alcohol levels in the IAIRM model. Oxidized proteins accumulate in the liver at high blood alcohol levels. Neoantigens derived from protein adducts formed with products of oxidation induce autoimmune mechanisms of liver injury. Thus, in many ways the model has revolutionized our understanding of the pathogenesis of ALD.

Copyright 2001 National Science Council, ROC and S. Karger AG, Basel

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