SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Baboons fed ethanol (50% of total calories) chronically develop ultrastructural alterations of hepatic mitochondria. To determine whether mitochondrial functions are also altered, mitochondria were isolated from nine baboons fed ethanol chronically and their pair-fed controls. At the fatty liver stage, ADP-stimulated respiration was depressed in ethanol-fed baboons by 59.4% with glutamate, 43.2% with acetaldehyde, 45.1% with succinate and 51.1% with ascorbate as substrates. A similar decrease was noted in the ADP/O ratio (14 to 28%) and respiratory control ratio (20 to 44%) with all substrates. Similar alterations of mitochondrial functions were observed in baboons with more advanced stages of liver disease, namely fibrosis. These changes after ethanol treatment were associated with decreases in the enzyme activities of mitochondrial respiratory chain: glutamate, NADH and succinate dehydrogenase (42, 24 and 28%, respectively), glutamate-, NADH-or succinate-cytochrome c reductase (42, 27 and 32%, respectively) and cytochrome oxidase (59.6%). The content of all cytochromes was also decreased in ethanol-fed baboons, especially aa3 (57%). Moreover, [14C] leucine incorporation into mitochondrial membranes was depressed by 21% after ethanol treatment. On the other hand, glutamate dehydrogenase activities of serum and cytosol in ethanol-fed baboons were significantly higher than those in pair-fed controls. Morphologically, mitochondria of ethanol-fed baboons were larger than those of pair-fed controls. However, the mitochondrial protein content per mitochondrial DNA was unchanged. From these results, we conclude that, morphologically and functionally, hepatic mitochondria in baboons are altered by chronic ethanol consumption; it is noteworthy that these changes are fully developed already at the fatty liver stage, and that morphological alteration appears to reflect the damage of mitochondrial membranes rather than an adaptive hypertrophy.