Influence of vitamin C status on ethanol metabolism in guinea-pigs

Physiol Res. 1998;47(2):137-41.


Guinea-pigs were maintained for 5 weeks on a diet containing three different concentrations of vitamin C: a) traces (none added), b) medium (0.05% w/w) and high (0.5% w/w). Twenty-four hours before killing the animals received one i.p. dose of 3 g ethanol per kg body weight (a model of short-term acute intoxication). In a parallel experiment which lasted 5 weeks, the animals were treated every week with two i.p. doses of 1 g ethanol per kg body weight followed by the final acute intoxication (3g ethanol/kg) (a model of long-term chronic alcoholization). In both experiments, the guinea-pigs with the highest tissue concentration of vitamin C proved to have significantly decreased residual levels of ethanol and acetaldehyde in the liver and the brain, a decreased activity of alanine- and aspartate aminoacyl transferases in the serum and decreased contents of triacylglycerols and cholesterol in the serum and liver in comparison with the vitamin C-unsupplemented group. The regression curve expressing vitamin C levels versus residual ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations in the liver confirmed the highly significant negative correlation between them. Administration of the guinea-pigs with large amounts of vitamin C appears to accelerate ethanol and acetaldehyde metabolism and reduce some of their adverse health effects.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaldehyde / metabolism
  • Alanine Transaminase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / metabolism
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Triglycerides
  • Ethanol
  • Cholesterol
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Ascorbic Acid