Fish oil, alcohol, and liver pathology: Role of cytochrome P450 2E1

M. Morimoto, Mark A Zern, A. L. Hagbjork, M. Ingelman-Sundberg, S. W. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Rats were fed ethanol in combination with fish oil or a corn diet in order to evaluate the effect of fish oil feeding on liver injury, microsomal ethanol oxidation, and NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation. The rats were maintained on the dietary regimen for 72 days, and for comparison, pair-fed controls were studied. The liver pathology score progressively worsened in rats fed alcohol, both in combination with fish oil and corn oil, but the severity of inflammation and focal fibrosis was greater in the ethanol fish oil fed rats as compared with the ethanol corn oil group, whereas the fatty change was greater in the ethanol corn oil fed rats. The alcohol treatment caused a 2-fold increase of the liver microsomal P450 content, and about a similar increase in the rate of microsomal NADPH oxidation. The amount of ethanol-inducible CYP2E1 was about 10-fold higher in alcohol-fed rats as compared with pair-fed controls. The NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation in liver microsomes was about 10-fold higher in microsomes from alcohol-treated rats fed corn oil as compared with controls, but only 2- to 3-fold higher in alcohol-fed rats receiving fish oil than in pair-fed controls. This was due to a higher rate of NADPH-dependent lipid peroxidation in the control rats receiving fish oil. There was a pronounced correlation between the amount of CYP2E1 and the microsomal NADPH peroxidation in variously treated rats, and between the 2E1 levels and the pathology score. The data suggest that fish oil diet, like corn oil, supports ethanol-induced liver injury which is related to CYP2E1 induction and the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet (i.e., either n-6 or n-3).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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