Long-term ethanol feeding enhances susceptibility of the liver to orally administered lipopolysaccharides in rats

Hironao Tamai, Yoshineri Horie, Shinzo Kato, Hirokazu Yokoyama, Hiromasa Ishii

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Endotoxin has been implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of alcoholic liver disease. However, it is still unclear how long-term ethanol feeding affects absorption of endotoxin from the intestine and susceptibility of the liver to gut-derived endotoxin. The object of this study was to determine the effect of long-term ethanol feeding on hepatic susceptibility to orally administered endotoxin. Methods: Male Wistar rats that weighed approximately 150 g were pair-fed with an ethanol-containing liquid diet or a control diet for 35 days. In some experiments, 0, 10, or 20 mg/kg of lipopolysaccharides (LPS) was added to the liquid diet for 7 days beginning on day 29. On day 36, the animals were killed for blood biochemistry and histologic examination of the liver. We also determined plasma endotoxin levels after 20 mg/kg of LPS administration using a gastric tube. In another set of experiments, we determined intestinal permeability using FD4 (fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled dextran with an average molecular weight of 4000 D). Results: With 10 mg/kg of LPS, serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels were significantly increased in the ethanol-fed rats but not in controls. After 20 mg/kg of LPS administration, more substantial increases in serum ALT and ALP levels were observed in ethanol-fed rats as compared with control diet-fed rats. Plasma endotoxin levels in long-term ethanol-fed rats were higher than those in control rats after intragastric administration of high-dose endotoxin (20 mg/kg). Furthermore, intestinal permeability to FD4 was increased by long-term ethanol administration. Conclusions: Long-term ethanol feeding increases intestinal permeability to and absorption of endotoxin, which can sequentially enhance hepatic susceptibility to orally administered endotoxin. This model has potential as a subclinical experimental model for the study of alcoholic liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75S-80S
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number8 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Aug

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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