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Gastroenterology. 1991 Dec;101(6):1716-23.

Intraacinar profiles of alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities in human liver.

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  • 1Anatomisches Institut, Basel, Switzerland.


The intraacinar activity profiles of alcohol dehydrogenase and the aldehyde dehydrogenases (I, I plus II, and total) were determined, using liver biopsy samples from eight male and eight female patients. Microchemical assays were performed in microdissected tissue samples from the whole length of the sinusoid. Alcohol dehydrogenase activity in men less than 53 years of age showed a maximum in the intermediate zone, whereas in women less than 50 years of age an increase in the gradient toward the perivenous zone was observed. Furthermore, alcohol dehydrogenase activity in the livers of women was significantly higher than in men. After the age of 53 in men and 50 in women, the sex specificity of the distribution profiles was no longer apparent. The intraacinar profiles of aldehyde dehydrogenase isoenzymes showed only minor variations in the different groups; they were not statistically significant. This is also true for low-Michaelis constant (Km) aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is most important for acetaldehyde oxidation in vivo. Thus, of the variations in zonal heterogeneity of ethanol-degrading enzymes, it is mainly the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase that may contribute to the sex- and age-related susceptibility of liver parenchyma.

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