Binge Ethanol Exposure Increases Liver Injury in Obese Rats

Michal Carmiel-Haggai, Arthur I. Cederbaum, Natalia Nieto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: The objective of this study was to address the hepatic effects of acute alcohol consumption in obesity by simulating an alcohol binge in genetically obese fa/fa rats compared with lean Fa/? rats. Methods: Ethanol 4 g/kg or saline was administered by gavage every 12 hours for 3 days. Results: Plasma alcohol levels were similar in both groups. Binge ethanol exposure caused liver injury in obese fa/fa but not in lean Fa/? rats, as assessed by alanine aminotransferase and H&E staining. Obesity impaired the antioxidant defense because basal levels of glutathione, glutamate cysteine ligase modulatory subunit, catalase, glutathione reductase, and superoxide dismutase were lower in fa/fa compared with Fa/? rats; the ethanol binge further decreased these antioxidants in fa/fa rats and also decreased glutathione peroxidase activity. Nonesterified fatty acids and lipid peroxidation were increased after ethanol treatment in fa/fa rats. Cytochrome P450 2E1 was down-regulated in fa/fa compared with Fa/? rats; however, the ethanol binge increased cytochrome P450 2E1 in both genotypes. Adenosine triphosphate decreased and uncoupling protein 2 increased in fa/fa rats treated with ethanol. 3-Nitrotyrosine protein adducts were detected only in fa/fa rats treated with ethanol, and this was accompanied by an induction of inducible nitric oxide synthase. Ethanol binge increased caspase-3 and caspase-8 activity, the expression of Fas ligand, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling in fa/fa rats. Conclusions: These data indicate that binge drinking increases apoptosis and liver injury in obese rats more than in lean controls and suggest that the injury may involve oxidative and nitrosative damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1818-1833
Number of pages16
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by The American Association for the Studies of Liver Diseases/Schering Advanced Hepatology Fellowship (M.C.-H.), by US Public Health Service Grant AA 03312 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (A.I.C.), and by the Charles H. Revson Fellowship and the American Liver Foundation Liver Scholar Award (N.N.).


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