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Alcohol. 1996 Jul-Aug;13(4):347-53.

The regulation of alcohol consumption in rats: the role of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes-catalase and aldehyde dehydrogenase.

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  • 1Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.


Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) and catalase enzymatic activities in brain were assayed and compared to measures of alcohol consumption in two groups of animals screened and maintained on free-choice alcohol access under different conditions. In the first group of Long-Evans rats screened and maintained in home cages, mean alcohol intake was 3.49 g/kg/day with a range of 1.69-5.33 g/kg/day. When alcohol intake (g/kg), total ALDH, low K(m) ALDH, and catalase activities were entered in a multiple regression, a significant correlation of r = 0.51 (p < 0.05) was obtained. In the second group of rats consisting of Long-Evans, P, and NP rats screened using a drinkometer procedure, a multiple correlation between ALDH and catalase enzyme activities and alcohol intake of r = 0.42 (p < 0.05) was obtained. There was a strong relationship between the frequency of alcohol drinking bouts and the activities of catalase and ALDH (r = 0.68, p < 0.0001). The P rats had significantly higher catalase activities than either the NP or Long-Evans rats. The results of the present study confirmed earlier reports on the role of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes in the regulation of alcohol intake. The results also highlighted the fact that the activity of these alcohol-metabolizing enzymes may play a mediating role in patterns of alcohol intake displayed by animals selected for high and low alcohol drinking and also unselected animals.

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