1. Removal of acetaldehyde and ethanol has been studied in perfused rat livers. 2. The maximum rate of ethanol oxidation was 2μmol/min per g of liver, which was less than the calculated capacity of the ethanol-oxidizing system. The lactate/pyruvate ratio of the medium increased with the rate of ethanol removal. At low ethanol concentrations most of the acetaldehyde formed was oxidized further, but at ethanol concentrations above 16mm about 60% of the acetaldehyde left the liver unmetabolized. 3. At lower concentrations the greater part of added acetaldehyde was oxidized, but above 5mm, 50–60% of that removed was recovered as ethanol. 4. When the reduction of acetaldehyde was blocked by pyrazole, removal was strongly diminished. There was no effect on the lactate/pyruvate ratio during oxidation of low concentrations of acetaldehyde, even in the presence of pyrazole, but at higher concentrations a gradual increase occurred. 5. The results indicate that during ethanol oxidation the ethanol/acetaldehyde pair is not in redox equilibrium with the lactate/pyruvate pair. Ethanol oxidation was abolished by addition of acetaldehyde. Under these conditions the lactate/pyruvate ratio was 1.5–1.8 times the ethanol/acetaldehyde ratio, indicating equilibration of the alcohol dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase systems. 6. The results support the view that ultimately the rate of mitochondrial oxidation of NADH limits the removal of ethanol in the liver.

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