Rats were acutely administered ethanol as a primed constant infusion in order to produce sustained blood ethanol levels of 8-12 or 55-65 mM. At the end of ethanol infusion the livers were either freeze-clamped in vivo or isolated and perfused for metabolic studies. The rate ofgluconeogenesis and its responsiveness to phenylephrine (10μM), prostaglandin F2α (5μM) and glucagon (10 nM), as well as the redox state of the cytosolic NAD+-NADH system were assessed in livers isolated from acutely ethanol-treated rats, and subsequently perfused without ethanol. For liver clamped in vivo, high- but not low-ethanol treatment decreased the ATP content by 31% and slightly increased ADP and AMP content, resulting in a decreased energy charge (11%). Glutamate and aspartate content was also increased in high-dose ethanol-infused rats with no changes in malate and 2-oxoglutarate content. Gluconeogenesis with saturating concentrations of lactate (4 mM) + pyruvate (0.4 mM) was delayed in reaching a plateau in the livers of high-dose ethanol-treated rats and its response to all three stimulators was impaired. Low-dose ethanol treatment only decreased the liver response to phenylephrine. While the perfused livers of low-dose ethanol-treated rats displayed no changes in adenine nucleotide content, the livers of high-dose ethanol-treated rats had a decreased ATP (35%) and an increased AMP (77%) content, paralleled by a fall in the total adenine nucleotides (14%) and energy charge (14%). No differences were observed between the saline- and ethanol-treated rats with respect to malate-aspartate shuttle intermediate concentration in perfused livers. Also, the livers of high-, but not low-dose ethanol-treated rats had a more negative value of NAD+-NADH redox state as compared to the livers of control rats. The data suggest that acute ethanol intoxication produces changes in liver metabolism and its responsiveness to hormones/agonists that are demonstrable for at least 2 hr after isolation and perfusion of the liver.
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