Intestinal thiamin transport: Effect of chronic ethanol administration in rats

A. M. Hoyumpa, S. Nichols, G. I. Henderson, S. Schenker

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44 Scopus citations


The effect of chronic ethanol treatment on intestinal thiamin transport was studied. Rats were fed the De Carli-Lieber ethanol diet for 6 to 8 weeks and 14C-thiamin uptake and exit from enterocytes were measured in inverted gut sacs and correlated with basolateral membrane Na-K ATPase activity. Thiamin transport rate and Na-K ATPase activity were not affected in chronic ethanol-treated rats compared to pair-fed controls. Ethanol concentrations in gut lumen and plasma at time of study were 39.3 ± 15.3 and 40.2 ± 19.4 mg/100 ml, respectively, although higher levels were noted at other times. Tissue thiamin pyrophosphate remained normal. In contrast, ethanol-treated rats given intragastrically an extra dose of ethanol 250 mg/100 g of body weight one hour before study showed a decrease in cellular exit of 0.2 and 0.5 μM thiamin to 44 and 56% of control, respectively (P < 0.025) and of Na-K ATPase to 32% of control (P <0.001) when gut and plasma ethanol levels were 318.3 ± 38.7 and 185.0 ± 8.7 mg/100 ml, respectively. These studies 1) confirm the inhibitory effect of ethanol on thiamin transport, 2) show that inhibition is dependent more on the ethanol concentration than on the duration of exposure to ethanol, and 3) suggest that thiamin malabsorption in this animal model may be intermittent. These findings may be relevant with reference to alcoholics with periodic binge drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)938-945
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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