Oxidation of methanol, ethylene glycol, and isopropanol with human alcohol dehydrogenases and the inhibition by ethanol and 4-methylpyrazole

Chem Biol Interact. 2011 May 30;191(1-3):26-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2010.12.005. Epub 2010 Dec 15.


Human alcohol dehydrogenases (ADHs) include multiple isozymes with broad substrate specificity and ethnic distinct allozymes. ADH catalyzes the rate-limiting step in metabolism of various primary and secondary aliphatic alcohols. The oxidation of common toxic alcohols, that is, methanol, ethylene glycol, and isopropanol by the human ADHs remains poorly understood. Kinetic studies were performed in 0.1M sodium phosphate buffer, at pH 7.5 and 25°C, containing 0.5 mM NAD(+) and varied concentrations of substrate. K(M) values for ethanol with recombinant human class I ADH1A, ADH1B1, ADH1B2, ADH1B3, ADH1C1, and ADH1C2, and class II ADH2 and class IV ADH4 were determined to be in the range of 0.12-57 mM, for methanol to be 2.0-3500 mM, for ethylene glycol to be 4.3-2600mM, and for isopropanol to be 0.73-3400 mM. ADH1B3 appeared to be inactive toward ethylene glycol, and ADH2 and ADH4, inactive with methanol. The variations for V(max) for the toxic alcohols were much less than that of the K(M) across the ADH family. 4-Methylpyrazole (4MP) was a competitive inhibitor with respect to ethanol for ADH1A, ADH1B1, ADH1B2, ADH1C1 and ADH1C2, and a noncompetitive inhibitor for ADH1B3, ADH2 and ADH4, with the slope inhibition constants (K(is)) for the whole family being 0.062-960 μM and the intercept inhibition constants (K(ii)), 33-3000 μM. Computer simulation studies using inhibition equations in the presence of alternate substrate ethanol and of dead-end inhibitor 4MP with the determined corresponding kinetic parameters for ADH family, indicate that the oxidation of the toxic alcohols up to 50mM are largely inhibited by 20 mM ethanol or by 50 μM 4MP with some exceptions. The above findings provide an enzymological basis for clinical treatment of methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning by 4MP or ethanol with pharmacogenetic perspectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Propanol / metabolism*
  • 2-Propanol / toxicity
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Ethylene Glycol / metabolism*
  • Ethylene Glycol / toxicity
  • Fomepizole
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Methanol / metabolism*
  • Methanol / toxicity
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Ethanol
  • Fomepizole
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • 2-Propanol
  • Methanol