The effects of acute ethanol administration on different steps of thiamine (T), thiamine monophosphate (TMP) and pyrosphosphate (TPP) metabolism were determined in vivo in nervous tissues (cerebral cortex, cerebellum, brain stem and sciatic nerve) and in other tissues (small intestinal mucosa, kidney, heart, skeletal muscle and liver) of rats. The radioactivity of T and its phosphoesters in plasma and tissues was determined under steady-state conditions and at fixed time intervals (0.25-24 hr) after an i.p. injection of Thiazole-[2-14C]-thiamine (30 micrograms: 1.25 microCi) in the presence of a constant plasma ethanol concentration (37 mM; 1.75 g.l-1) produced by repeated intragastric administration of ethanol. Control animals received water intragastrically. Ethanol-treated rats and controls were starved, with water ad libitum during the 24 hr study period. Data were evaluated by using appropriate compartmental models, which allowed calculation of fractional rate constants, turnover rates and turnover times. In nervous tissues ethanol enhanced TMP entry (without affecting T entry or T and TMP release), reduced turnover time of total T and TPP, caused an almost general enhancement of TPP dephosphorylation without affecting T pyrophosphorylation, and increased markedly T content in the mixture released by tissues. Overall, ethanol appeared to enhance exchanges of T compounds in nervous tissues. In other tissues, the effects of ethanol were less consistent. Ethanol increased T uptake in kidney and liver and T release in liver and heart, but had no effect on T exchanges in the small intestinal mucosa and in skeletal muscle. In the presence of ethanol, TMP uptake increased in heart and skeletal muscle and decreased in the small intestinal mucosa, while TMP release decreased in heart and remained unchanged in all other organs. Turnover times tended to increase for total T and to decrease for TPP. T pyrophosphorylation was generally reduced, and T phosphates dephosphorylation generally enhanced. T became the most abundant component in the mixture released from all tissues.
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