The effects of castration and testosterone administration on the activity of liver alcohol dehydrogenase and on the rate of ethanol elimination were determined in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Castration increased liver alcohol dehydrogenase activity. The total liver activity in castrated animals was 2.37 ± 0.229 (S.E.) mmoles hr as compared with a value of 1.39 ± 0.125 mmoles hr in sham-operated controls (P < 0.01). Testosterone administration partially suppressed the enhanced activity of liver alcohol dehydrogenase produced by castration. By contrast, in control animals testosterone administration resulted in a small paradoxical increase in liver alcohol dehydrogenase. The increase in the enzyme activity in castrated animals was associated with a parallel increase in the rate of ethanol elimination. Castrated and control animals showed decreases in free cytosolic and mitochondrial NAD+/NADH ratios after ethanol administration. These observations suggest that testosterone (and probably other as yet unknown factors modified by castration) affects liver alcohol dehydrogenase activity, and that the total enzyme activity can be a principal limiting factor in ethanol elimination.
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