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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2008 Feb;40(1):35-44. doi: 10.1007/s10863-008-9129-y. Epub 2008 Jan 19.

Ethanol withdrawal provokes mitochondrial injury in an estrogen preventable manner.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, 3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA.


We investigated whether ethanol withdrawal (EW) oxidizes mitochondrial proteins and provokes mitochondrial membrane swelling and whether estrogen deprivation contributes to this problem. Ovariectomized female rats with or without 17beta-estradiol (E2)-implantation received a control diet or a liquid ethanol diet (6.5%) for 5 weeks and were sacrificed during EW. Protein oxidation was assessed by measuring carbonyl contents and was visualized by immunochemistry. Mitochondrial membrane swelling as an indicator of mitochondrial membrane fragility was assessed by monitoring absorbance at 540 nm and was compared with that of male rats. Compared to the control diet group and ovariectomized rats with E2-implantation, ovariectomized rats without E2-implantation showed higher carbonylation of mitochondrial proteins and more rapid mitochondrial membrane swelling during EW. Such rapid mitochondrial membrane swelling was comparable to that of male rats undergoing EW. These findings demonstrate that EW provokes oxidative injury to mitochondrial membranes in a manner that is exacerbated by estrogen deprivation.

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