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J Comp Physiol B. 1988;158(4):479-85.

A comparative study of aldehyde dehydrogenase and alcohol dehydrogenase activities in crucian carp and three other vertebrates: apparent adaptations to ethanol production.

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Department of Zoophysiology, Uppsala University, Sweden.


In the final step of the pathway producing ethanol in anoxic crucian carp (Carassius carassius L.), acetaldehyde is reduced to ethanol by alcohol dehydrogenase. The presence of aldehyde dehydrogenase in the tissues responsible for ethanol production could cause an undesired oxidation of acetaldehyde to acetate coupled with a reduction of NAD+ to NADH. Moreover, acetaldehyde could competitively inhibit the oxidation of reactive biogenic aldehydes. In the present study, the distribution of aldehyde dehydrogenase (measured with a biogenic aldehyde) and alcohol dehydrogenase (measured with acetaldehyde) were studied in organs of crucian carp, common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.), rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri Richardson), and Norwegian rat (Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout). The results showed that alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities were almost completely spatially separated in the crucian carp. These enzymes occurred together in the other three vertebrates. In the crucian carp, alcohol dehydrogenase was only found in red and white skeletal muscle, while these tissues contained exceptionally low aldehyde dehydrogenase activities. Moreover, the low aldehyde dehydrogenase activity found in crucian carp red muscle was about 1000 times less sensitive to inhibition by acetaldehyde than that found in other tissues and other species. The results are interpreted as demonstrating adaptations to avoid a depletion of ethanol production, and possibly inhibition of biogenic aldehyde metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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