Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Alcohol. 2001 Feb;23(2):99-108.

A subtoxic interactive toxicity study of ethanol and chromium in male Wistar rats.

Author information

  • 1Department of Zoology, Saint Xavier's College, 400 001, Mumbai, India.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the interactive toxicity of ethanol with potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7-chromium). Young, male Wistar rats (100-120 g) were divided into four groups of five or six animals each and were dosed, through water, with 10% ethanol (vol./vol.) or 25 ppm chromium or were dosed with a combination of ethanol+chromium at the same concentrations for a period of 22 weeks ad libitum and were maintained on normal diet. Control animals were maintained on a normal diet and water for the same period. The serum succinate dehydrogenase and liver total triglyceride levels were significantly reduced in the three treated groups. The serum alkaline phosphatase levels were significantly reduced in ethanol-treated rats, and there was no significant change in the acid phosphatase activity. Serum aspartate and alanine aminotransferase levels in the three treated groups were significantly increased. The liver glycogen significantly decreased in both the ethanol-treated and the chromium-treated rats. There was a significant increase in liver total cholesterol levels in chromium-treated rats. Total glutathione levels were significantly decreased in the livers of ethanol-treated and ethanol+chromium-treated rats. To further substantiate these findings, a histological examination of the liver and kidneys was undertaken. The livers of alcohol-treated animals showed altered hepatic architecture in the centrilobular and periportal areas, with increased sinusoidal space (space of Disse), vacuolation, and necrosis of hepatocytes. Similar changes were observed in a histological examination of the livers of chromium-treated rats, except that the damage to the hepatocytes was more confined to the periportal area. Moreover, histological examination of the livers of ethanol+chromium-treated rats revealed uniform damage in the centrilobular and periportal areas, as was observed in the groups treated either with ethanol or chromium. The histological examination of the kidneys in the three treated groups revealed significant damage to the renal tubules and Bowman's capsule, which showed vacuolation and degeneration of the basement membrane. These findings correlate well with the serum enzyme levels found in the treated groups. It is evident from this study that chronic ethanol consumption sensitizes the liver to the toxic action of agents such as chromium. It leads to impairment of the biochemical functions in the liver, and it causes liver and kidney damage. Long-term simultaneous exposure to ethanol and chromium may cause severe health problems in people who are alcoholics and work in chrome-plating and leather-tanning industries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk