1. Blood ethanol and acetaldehyde concentrations were compared in normal young male and female subjects after intravenous infusion of 0.5 g of ethanol/kg body weight.
2. After the infusion was completed, females had significantly higher mean concentrations of blood ethanol than males, but a significantly lower apparent volume of distribution (Vd) of ethanol (0.56 ± 0.06 l/kg vs 0.68 ± 0.17 l/kg, P<0.05). There were no differences in ethanol elimination rate (EER) (females 1.78 ± 0.3 mmol h−1 kg−1; males 1.87 ± 0.41 mmol h−1 kg−1). The mean value of the areas under the acetaldehyde/time curves (AUC) were significantly greater for males (88.5 ± 26.4 μmol/l. h) than for females (58.6 ± 31.5 μmol/l. h, P<0.05).
3. Since the ethanol elimination rate was similar in both sexes, the observed differences in AUC for acetaldehyde may reflect the sex differences in metabolism of this substrate by the liver.