General interest question / alcohol metabolism

Bernard Murray bernard at
Sat Feb 19 04:08:15 EST 1994

In article <Pine.3.05.9402182232.A9203-9100000 at>, guia at CC.UManitoba.CA (Antonio Guia) writes:
> On 18 Feb 1994, Paul Schlosser wrote:
> > Drinking alcohol causes induction of cytochrome P450 2E1 (in the liver),
> > a principle enzyme in alcohol metabolism.  So as your average consumption
> > goes up, so does your metabolism.
> That being the case, why do alcoholics get drunk on less alcohol than the
> first time drinkers?
> -tg

Is this really a fact?  I assume that it could appear so if alcoholics
maintained their blood alcohol level at a point where the addition of a
small amount ("less than first time drinkers") would lead to a more profound
clinical effect.  Also, it must be a little hard to differentiate between the
effects of too much and too little in an alcoholic without blood levels.
I am not aware that the inducibility of CYP2E1 is enhanced or reduced in
alcoholics but would be interested to hear otherwise.

Bernard Murray, Ph.D.
bernard at (National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda MD, USA)

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