Leucine accelerates blood ethanol oxidation by enhancing the activity of ethanol metabolic enzymes in the livers of SHRSP rats

Hitoshi Murakami, Michiko Ito, Yuji Furukawa, Michio Komai

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic ethanol consumption induces liver diseases, such as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. The enhancement of alcohol oxidation is important in the prevention of these liver diseases. Chronic supplementation with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) prevents liver cirrhosis. Therefore, BCAAs may be associated with enhanced ethanol oxidation. To evaluate this hypothesis, we investigated the effect of the administration of individual BCAAs on ethanol oxidation and changes in alcohol-metabolizing enzyme activities following acute alcohol intake in rats. Blood ethanol concentrations and the activities of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes, such as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and low and high Km aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), were measured in the liver following acute ethanol administration in rats; the ethanol was administered 30 min after the treatment with amino acids [such as leucine (Leu), isoleucine (Ile), valine (Val) or alanine (Ala)]. Leu significantly decreased the blood ethanol concentration 1 h after ethanol administration compared to the water-treated control (C) [C 0.46 ± 0.09, Leu 0.18 ± 0.04, Ile 0.27 ± 0.09, Val 0.46 ± 0.1, Ala 0.43 ± 0.06, mean ± SEM (g/l), P\0.05]. In addition, leucine significantly stimulated ADH activity 30 min after ethanol intake [C 0.042 ± 0.014, Leu 0.090 ± 0.016, Ile 0.042 ± 0.008, Val 0.022 ± 0.010, Ala 0.070 ± 0.016, mean ± SEM (unit/mg protein), P\0.05] and low Km ALDH activity 15 min after ethanol intake [C 0.51 ± 0.63, Leu 3.72 ± 0.66, Ile 1.26 ± 0.89, Val: ND, Ala 1.86 ± 1.57, mean ± SEM (unit/mg protein), P\0.05]. However, leucine and its metabolite a-keto-isocaproic acid did not enhance ethanol clearance in isolated rat hepatocytes. These results indicate that leucine accelerates ethanol oxidation by indirectly enhancing ADH and low Km ALDH activities in the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2545-2551
Number of pages7
JournalAmino Acids
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 1


  • Alcohol metabolic enzymes
  • Ethanol oxidation
  • Leucine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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