First published May 1, 1975 - More info
Individuals with chronic alcohol abuse frequently exhibit lowered plasma levels of pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, the coenzyme form of vitamin B6. Because the liver is the primary source of this coenzyme in plasma and also the principal organ that oxidizes ethanol, the effect of ethanol on hepatic pyridoxal phosphate metabolism was studied in the rat. The chronic feeding of ethanol (36 percent of the total dietary calories) for 6 wk significantly decreased the hepatic pyridoxal phosphate content both in animals given a sufficient amount of vitamin B6 in their diet and in those rendered vitamin B6 deficient. In isolated perfused livers, the addition of 18 mM ethanol lowered the pyridoxal phosphate content of livers from vitamin B6-sufficient animals and deceased the net synthesis of pyridoxal phosphate from pyridoxine by the livers of vitamin B6-deficient animals. Ethanol also diminished the rate of release of pyridoxal phosphate into the perfusate by the livers of vitamin B6-deficient rats. These effects of ethanol, in vitro, were abolished by 4-methyl pyrazole, an inhibitor of alcohol dehydrogenase. Thus the derangement of pyridoxal phosphate metabolism produced by ethanol is dependt upon its oxidation. These data support previous findings whic indicate that acetaldehyde is the responsible agent which acts by accelerating the degradation of intracellular pyridoxal phosphate.