Myocardial metabolites of ethanol.
Because of the importance of alcohol-induced heart muscle disease and the obscurity of its pathogenesis, this study was undertaken to determine whether fatty acid ethyl esters, myocardial metabolites of ethanol recently described in our laboratory to be synthesized in cell-free extracts of rabbit myocardium, accumulate in hearts of human subjects exposed to ethanol in vivo. Lipid extracts were prepared from left ventricular samples obtained at necropsy from six subjects who had been exposed to ethanol acutely or chronically. Fatty acid ethyl esters were present in each extract in concentrations ranging from 9 to 115 microM. In contrast, they were consistently absent from analogous samples obtained from hearts of abstainers (n = 5). In parallel studies in experimental animals, we found that fatty acid ethyl esters are formed not only in the heart but also in the pancreas and liver--targets of injury associated with chronic alcohol abuse. These results demonstrate the presence in human myocardium of a novel metabolite of ethanol that potentially may serve as a marker for exposure to alcohol and that could be relevant to the pathophysiology of excessive alcohol consumption leading to cardiac abnormalities.
- Copyright © 1983 by American Heart Association