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Alcohol Alcohol. 1991;26(2):125-8.

Hepatic transmethylation and blood alcohol levels.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68105.


Golden Syrian hamsters that have elevated hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase activity were divided into four groups and group-fed on four different liquid diets for five weeks. Group I was fed a control diet formulated for hamsters. Group II was fed the control diet containing 20 micrograms of 4 methylpyrazole per litre. Group III was fed the hamster ethanol liquid diet (ethanol amounting to 36% of total calories). Group IV was fed the ethanol diet to which 4-methylpyrazole (20 micrograms/litre) was added. Groups I, II and III were group-fed the amount consumed by Group IV on a daily basis. Upon killing the animals, blood alcohol levels were found to be elevated in Group IV but not in Group III. Hepatic methionine synthetase (MS) was inhibited in Group IV. Betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase was induced in this group to compensate for the MS inhibition and liver betaine was lowered reflecting this induction. None of these changes were seen in Group III. Since none of the animals showed an aversion to their respective diets and gained weight normally, these data indicate that it was the elevated blood levels of ethanol rather than nutritional factors that were related to the changes in methionine metabolism.

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