Chronic Ethanol Administration Alters Hepatic Surface Membranes as Evidenced by Decreased Concanavalin A Binding

J. P. Metcalf, Carol A Casey, Michael Floyd Sorrell, D. J. Tuma

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The effects of chronic ethanol administration on the hepatic surface membrane were examined. The binding of the lectin, concanavalin A (Con A), to isolated hepatocytes was used to ascertain changes in the hepatic plasma membrane, especially in regard to glycoprotein composition, due to chronic ethanol feeding. Hepatocytes, isolated from rats fed ethanol for 5 to 7 weeks, had a decreased ability to bind Con A when compared to hepatocytes from either the pair-fed controls or ad libitum chow-fed rats. Since decreased Con A binding was more apparent at high Con A concentrations, reduced lectin binding likely reflected changes in the composition of surface membrane glycoproteins in the livers of the ethanol-fed rats. When ethanol (50 mM) was added to the incubation medium containing hepatocytes from ethanol-fed rats, pair-fed controls, or chow-fed rats, no effects on Con A binding were observed. These results indicate that chronic ethanol administration induces changes in the oligosaccharide chains of plasma membrane glycoproteins in the liver. Such alterations may play a role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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