Hepatic glutathione determination after ethanol administration in rat: evidence of the first-pass metabolism of ethanol

Life Sci. 1995;56(4):241-8. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(94)00918-x.


As a fraction of ingested ethanol is metabolized by gastric mucosa, different amounts of alcohol should reach the liver when the same dose is administered by oral or intravenous route. Therefore, we investigated the time-course of hepatic reduced glutathione (GSH) concentrations after intra-peritoneal or intra-gastric load of the same amount of ethanol in the rat. The test was also performed in fasted and Cimetidine-treated rats. The oral ethanol administration was followed by a less pronounced decrease and by a quicker recovery of hepatic content of GSH than after intraperitoneal route. In the fasted rat, basal hepatic GSH significantly decreased; after alcohol administration the decrease of hepatic GSH was more severe and prolonged than in the fed rat. Cimetidine was shown to be a potent inhibitor of gastric ADH. Pre-treatment with Cimetidine did not change the basal levels of hepatic GSH, but after oral ethanol load, the decrease of the hepatic GSH content was significantly (p < 0.005) more pronounced than in controls. This study demonstrates the beneficial effects of gastric ethanol metabolism on the liver. The reduced gastric ethanol metabolism, induced by fasting or by Cimetidine resulted in a decreased content and delayed recovery of liver GSH content.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cimetidine / pharmacology
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Ethanol / metabolism*
  • Fasting
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Ethanol
  • Cimetidine
  • Glutathione