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Biochem Pharmacol. 1992 Jul 7;44(1):93-8.

Ethanol metabolism in rat brain homogenates by a catalase-H2O2 system.

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Concordia University, Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Homogenates of perfused rat brains incubated in the presence of ethanol (50-100 mM) and glucose (10 mM) were found to oxidize ethanol to acetaldehyde. The addition of glucose oxidase, a known hydrogen peroxide generator, to the incubation medium, significantly (P less than 0.05) increased the generation of acetaldehyde. The presence in the incubation medium of metyrapone, an inhibitor of cytochrome P450, or pyrazole, an alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor, did not affect the levels of acetaldehyde obtained. Conversely, the presence of 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole, a known catalase inhibitor, induced a concentration-dependent reduction of the amount of acetaldehyde generated after incubation, even in the presence of glucose oxidase. Homogenates of perfused brains of rats treated with 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole or cyanamide (another H2O2-dependent catalase blocker) also showed a dose-dependent reduction of the acetaldehyde obtained. These findings support the notion that a catalase-mediated oxidation of ethanol is present in rat brain homogenates. It is suggested that this local oxidation of ethanol may have important biological implications. The data of both studies increase support for the notion that acetaldehyde is produced directly in the brain and that it may be the agent mediating some of the psychopharmacological properties of ethanol and be one of the factors determining the propensity of an animal to voluntarily consume ethanol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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