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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of intestinal bacterial overgrowth in ethanol production and metabolism in rats.

To investigate the role of intestinal bacterial overgrowth on the production and metabolism of ethanol, rats with a jejunal self-filling diverticulum (blind-loop) were compared to controls with a self-emptying diverticulum. Both endogenous ethanol and acetaldehyde were found in the blind-loop contents. Intragastric administration of sucrose produced a marked increase in acetaldehyde and acetate in the portal venous blood, with only a modest elevation of ethanol. Blind-loop contents readily oxidized ethanol to acetaldehyde in a concentration-dependent manner and more actively under aerobic than anaerobic conditions. This oxidation was inhibited by antibiotics and was reproduced with isolated microorganisms. Intragastric administration of ethanol to rats with blind-loops markedly increased acetaldehyde and acetate concentrations in the portal vein and, to a lesser extent, in the systemic blood, compared with the controls. By contrast, both portal and systemic blood ethanol concentrations were lower in the rats with a blind-loop compared with controls, even though the amounts of ethanol retained in the digestive tract were similar. A dose of ethanol about twice as large as in controls was required to produce similar systemic blood levels. Both in rats with a blind-loop and in the controls, the areas under the curve of blood ethanol concentrations were smaller after intragastric than after intravenous ethanol administration (1 g ethanol/kg body wt). This difference was exaggerated in the rats with a blind-loop. Thus, a considerable amount of ethanol is oxidized in the gastrointestinal lumen of rats with a blind-loop. The resulting high concentrations of acetaldehyde, both in the intestinal lumen and the portal blood, may have deleterious effects on the gastrointestinal mucosa and the liver.[1]


  1. Role of intestinal bacterial overgrowth in ethanol production and metabolism in rats. Baraona, E., Julkunen, R., Tannenbaum, L., Lieber, C.S. Gastroenterology (1986) [Pubmed]
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