Previous studies using liver slices and isolated perfused rat liver have suggested that ethanol causes hypoxia by increasing oxygen consumption. However, ethanol also increases blood flow to the liver, a phenomenon that may counteract the effects of hypermetabolism by increasing oxygen delivery. Thus whether ethanol causes hypoxia in vivo remains unclear. To clarify this important point, female Sprague-Dawley rats (100-125 g) simultaneously received pimonidazole (120 mg/kg ip), a 2-nitroimidazole hypoxia marker, and one large dose of ethanol (5 g/kg ig), which increase hepatic oxygen uptake dramatically and elevate ethanol metabolism (swift increase in alcohol metabolism) in 2-3 h. After 2 h, ethanol significantly increased the accumulation of bound pimonidazole in pericentral regions of the liver lobule. Treatment of animals with the Kupffer cell-specific toxicant, GdCl3 (10 mg/kg iv, 24 h before experiment), blocked ethanol-induced increases in pimonidazole binding. It is concluded that one large dose of ethanol causes pericentral hypoxia in rat liver tissue in vivo and that Kupffer cells are involved.
- Copyright © 1996 the American Physiological Society