Effects of the Acute and Chronic Ethanol Intoxication on Acetate Metabolism and Kinetics in the Rat Brain

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Feb;42(2):329-337. doi: 10.1111/acer.13573. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Background: Ethanol (EtOH) intoxication inhibits glucose transport and decreases overall brain glucose metabolism; however, humans with long-term EtOH consumption were found to have a significant increase in [1-11 C]-acetate uptake in the brain. The relationship between the cause and effect of [1-11 C]-acetate kinetics and acute/chronic EtOH intoxication, however, is still unclear.

Methods: [1-11 C]-acetate positron emission tomography (PET) with dynamic measurement of K1 and k2 rate constants was used to investigate the changes in acetate metabolism in different brain regions of rats with acute or chronic EtOH intoxication.

Results: PET imaging demonstrated decreased [1-11 C]-acetate uptake in rat brain with acute EtOH intoxication, but this increased with chronic EtOH intoxication. Tracer uptake rate constant K1 and clearance rate constant k2 were decreased in acutely intoxicated rats. No significant change was noted in K1 and k2 in chronic EtOH intoxication, although 6 of 7 brain regions showed slightly higher k2 than baseline. These results indicate that acute EtOH intoxication accelerated acetate transport and metabolism in the rat brain, whereas chronic EtOH intoxication status showed no significant effect.

Conclusions: In vivo PET study confirmed the modulatory role of EtOH, administered acutely or chronically, in [1-11 C]-acetate kinetics and metabolism in the rat brain. Acute EtOH intoxication may inhibit the transport and metabolism of acetate in the brain, whereas chronic EtOH exposure may lead to the adaptation of the rat brain to EtOH in acetate utilization. [1-11 C]-acetate PET imaging is a feasible approach to study the effect of EtOH on acetate metabolism in rat brain.

Keywords: Ethanol Intoxication; K1 Rate Constant; Positron Emission Tomography; [1-11C]-Acetate; k2 Rate Constant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / metabolism*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / diagnostic imaging
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / metabolism*
  • Alcoholism / diagnostic imaging
  • Alcoholism / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Male
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Rats


  • Acetates
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Carbon-11
  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol
  • Glucose