Effect Of Alcohol Consumption On Some Hepatic Functions Of Albino Rats

Medical and Health Science Project and Seminar Material

Effect Of Alcohol Consumption On Some Hepatic Functions Of Albino Rats


The effect of alcohol on some hepatic parameters of albino rats was investigated, after a period of 7 days. The experimental animals were divided into four groups. All the groups received feed and water . In addition to this, group II received 25ml of alcohol/kg body weight once daily, group III received 50ml of alcohol/kg body weight once daily while group IV received 75ml of alcohol/kg body weight once daily also. The alcohol was given by oral compulsion. Blood samples were collected from the rats after the 7th day by cardiac puncture. The blood was allowed to clot, centrifuged and serum collected for analysis. Some hepatic parameters(ALT, AST, ALP, GGT, total bilirubin, conjugated bilirubin and unconjuated bilirubin) were analysed. The result gotten was calculated using statistical package for social sciences(SPSS). From the results, it was observed that there were significant increase in most liver parameters in both group III and IV(P<0.05) when compared to control but no significant different in group II when compared to control(as shown in the tables in chapter 4). This indicates that the increase in doses of alcohol could be detrimental to the liver particularly in high doses.

Table of Contents

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of Study
  • 1.1 Justification
  • 1.2 Aims and Objectives

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 The Liver
  • 2.1.1 Anatomy of the Liver
  • 2.1.2 Physiology of the Liver
  • 2.1.3 Liver Functions
  • 2.1.4 Chemical Findings in Liver Diseases
  • 2.1.5 Liver Enzymes
  • 2.2. Bilirubin
  • 2.2.1 Clinical Implications
  • 2.3 History of Alcohol
  • 2.3.1 Alcohol Pharmacology
  • 2.3.2 Metabolism of Alcohol
  • 2.3.3 Factors Influencing Alcohol Absorption and Metabolism
  • 2.3.4 Effects of Alcohol Metabolism
  • 2.3.5 Alcoholic Effects on the Liver
  • 2.3.6 A Review on Alcohol

Chapter Three:

Materials and Method

  • 3.0 Materials and Method
  • 3.1 Experimental Animals
  • 3.2 Experimental Design
  • 3.3 Sample Collection
  • 3.4 Laboratory Procedure
  • 3.4.1`serum Aspartate Amino Transferase Estimation
  • 3.4.2 Serum Alanine Amino Transferase Estimation
  • 3.4.3 Determination of Alkaline Phosphatase
  • 3.4.4 Determination of Serum Gamma-glutamyl Transferase
  • 3.4.5 Determination of Serum Total, Conjugated and Unconjugated Bilirubin
  • 3.5 Statistical Analysis

Chapter Four:


  • 4.0 Results

Chapter Five:

Discussion and Conclusion

  • 5.1 Discussion
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • Reference
  • Appendices

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms (Nic et al., 2006).

Alcohols are neutral colourless and a water miscible organic solvent and it distributes itself throughout the body. This means that the concentration within tissues will be similar to that in the blood. Alcohol (ethanol) is consumed widely in the form of beer, wines and spirit. Excessive alcohol consumption with its associated consequences is a leading cause of economic, social and medical problems throughout the world. Besides the short term effects most pathophysiological consequences of ethanol abuse are associated with chronic consumption over a long period.

Alcohol is consumed by about 70 % of U.S. adults (Breslow et al.,2008). Consumption of this dietary component has both risks and benefits. Low to moderate doses of alcohol lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality(USDA, 2010). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines suggest that if alcohol is consumed, males consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per/day (28 g/day) and women no more than one per/day (14 g/day) (Lichtenstein et al., 2006).

However, approximately 38 million adults in the United States report binge drinking an average of four times per month and consuming an average of eight drinks per episode (Kanny et al., 2013). Excessive alcohol intake was responsible for approximately 10 % of deaths among working age adults in the United States during 2006–2010 (Stahre et al., 2014) and cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. It is estimated to be the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States (Mokdad et al., 2000). Heavy drinking, including binge drinking, increases the risk of liver disease, hypertension, stroke, type II diabetes, gastrointestinal cancers, injuries and violence (USDA, 2010). Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality (USDA, 2010). In alcoholic patients increased levels of several liver-derived biomarkers are associated with excessive ethanol intake and alcoholic liver disease, and a number of studies have reported induction of liver enzyme function due to excessive alcohol consumption (Sharpe, 2001; Niemela, 2006). However, only a few small studies have investigated the effects of moderate alcohol consumption on liver enzymes (Alatalo et al., 2009)

During the past decades the total per capita ethanol consumption and associated medical disorders have increased rapidly (Room, 2005). Excessive alcohol consumption and obesity are known to lead to accumulation of fat in hepatic tissue and to induce changes in serum liver-derived enzymes (Ruhl and Everhart, 2005). Clinically, measurements of serum alanineaminotransferase (ALT), aspartateaminotransferase (AST), and γ-glutamyltransferase (GGT) are widely used as markers in evaluating the degree of alcohol liver injury (Conigrave et al., 2003).

1.2 Justification

Alcohol is consumed by about 70 % of U.S. adults (Breslow et al., 2008).Consumption of this dietary component has both risks and benefits. Low to moderate doses of alcohol lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality (USDA, 2010). Excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver diseases including fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis (Zakhari and Li, 2007; Schwartz and Reinus, 2012). Since alcohol is mainly metabolized by the liver, it is a primary site of alcohol-induced adverse health effects. Changes in liver enzymes activities are biomarkers of liver damage and are routinely assessed for diagnostic purposes and as part of physical examinations (Woreta and Alqahtani, 2013).

Previous studies have suggested the presence of a graded dose–response relationship between alcohol intake and risk of liver disease (Bellentani and Tiribelli, 2001; Day, 1997) and that GGT induction can be initiated at low doses of alcohol intake (Alatalo et al.,2009). But no such research has been done in this part of the world where the intake of alcohol is on the increase. Hence it becomes imperative to carry out this research.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

A) Aim:
  • To study the effect of different volumes of alcohol on some hepatic parameters.
B) Objectives:
  1. To determine the effect of alcohol on total, conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin.
  2. To determine the effect of alcohol on liver enzymes such as (alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanineaminotransferase (ALT), aspartateaminotransferase (AST), gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT) in albino rats.

Chapter Five

5.0. Discussion and Conclusion

5.1 Discussion

The effect of several hepatotoxic agents such as carbon tetrachloride and ethanol on liver structure and function have been studied possibly because of the livers central metabolic roles. The liver conjugates and excretes bilirubin, synthesizes ALT, stores AST and so changes in serum levels of these analytes have become diagnositic tools and markers in assessing liver function.

The administration of different volumes of alcohol in different groups resulted in a significant increase (P<0.05) in the body weight of the albino rats when compared to the control group for the period of 7days. This significant increase could be as a result of the high caloric content of alcohol. Alcohol also stimulates metabolism, which can lead to overheating. It also inhibits the ability of the body to burn fats.

The liver converts alcohol into acetate, which is released into the blood stream and used by the body as an energy source. As acetate levels rise, the body begins to burn more acetate and less fat (Leibowitz, 2007).

In contrast to the work of Breslow and Smothers, (2005) who said that frequent, light or moderate alcohol consumption is often assoiated with lower body weight, that those regularly consumers moderate amount of alcohol are more likely to reduce their intake of other foods to balance the caloric increase from alcohol.

Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of liver related mortality and morbidity. Moderate alcohol intake as observed in research increased the liver parameters such as AST, ALT, ALP, GGT and bilirubin, therefore showing P<0.05. This research shows that as the volume of alcohol consumption increases the level of liver parameters examined also increased. This is in line with the work of Sangiv et al., 2016).

In this study, the liver of unconjugated bilirubin increased markedly following an increase in ethanol administration, this is in line with the work of Onyesom and Anosike (2007). This indicates an increasing loss in the ability of the liver to conjugate and excrete bilirubin.

Onyesom and Mordiv, (2006), reported that an administration of ethanol causes an increase in serum AST and ALT activity suggesting hepatotoxic effect of ethanol.The association between alcohol consumption and GGT has previously been demonstrated GMT is a widely used index of excessive alcohol intake. GGT is a more sensitive indicator of moderate levels of alcohol consumption (Alatal, et al., 2009).

There is a graded dose increase in liver enzyme activities with increasing alcohol intake, GGT can be initiated at low doses of alcohol. It is in line with the work of Alatalo et al., (2009).Alcohol consumption leads to increase in serum bilirubin. Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a favourable and negative effects on health. In this research, an increase in the volume of alcohol leads to an increase in the level of bilirubin. Bilirubin has an antioxidant property which leads to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and all causing mortality.

5.2 Conclusion

In conclusion, it should be noted that the biochemical parameters of liver function estimated in this study are certified markers used in ascertaining liver function/injury. As the amount of alcohol consumed increases, the liver parameters also increases which can also lead to the risk of developing live rproblems.

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