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Mol Pharmacol. 1997 Jun;51(6):944-50.

Gadolinium chloride blocks alcohol-dependent liver toxicity in rats treated chronically with intragastric alcohol despite the induction of CYP2E1.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201, USA.


Hepatic CYP2E1 is induced in several models of alcohol administration, but clinically relevant pathology is only observed in rats in a model involving the continuous intragastric administration of an ethanol-containing, corn oil-based, high-fat diet. The level of CYP2E1 correlates with the degree of liver pathology in the intragastric feeding model, which leads to the hypothesis that radical production by CYP2E1 is responsible for the pathology. Destruction of the Kupffer cells with gadolinium chloride (GdCl3) prevented the development of ethanol-dependent pathology and decreased the production of radicals that appeared in the bile of intragastrically alcohol-fed rats. If the induction of CYP2E1 and subsequent formation of oxidant species by the enzyme is causative in the ethanol-dependent hepatic pathology, then protection by GdCl3 could be due an inhibition of CYP2E1 induction. In the current study, ethanol-administration for 4 wk produced marked steatosis, necrosis, and inflammation not seen in control rats. Immunochemically, CYP2E1 was induced 5- to 6-fold in microsomes from the ethanol-treated animals. Rates of p-nitrophenol and chlorzoxazone hydroxylation were elevated approximately 3-fold, consistent with CYP2E1 induction. When GdCl3 was administered with ethanol, there was a decrease of approximately 80% in Kupffer cell receptor expression, and there was a significant decrease in hepatic pathology, which confirms previous studies. However, in the ethanol and GdCl3-treated animals, there was no significant decrease in the induction of CYP2E1. CYP2E1 was elevated approximately 5-fold, as estimated by immunoblot analysis, and rates of p-nitrophenol and chlorzoxazone hydroxylation were elevated 3- to 4-fold in ethanol + GdCl3-treated rats. Thus, these results clearly dissociate the induction of CYP2E1 by intragastric infusion of ethanol from the generation of early alcohol-induced liver disease. It is concluded that Kupffer cells rather than CYP2E1 play the major role in the initiation of hepatocyte damage caused by alcohol.

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