The transcriptional and DNA binding activity of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α is inhibited by ethanol metabolism. A novel mechanism for the development of ethanol-induced fatty liver

Andrea Galli, Jane Pinaire, Monika Fischer, Ryan Dorris, David W. Crabb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Fatty acids are ligands for the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα). Fatty acid levels are increased in liver during the metabolism of ethanol and might be expected to activate PPARα. However, ethanol inhibited PPARα activation of a reporter gene in H4IIEC3 hepatoma cells expressing alcohol-metabolizing enzymes but not in CV-1 cells, which lack these enzymes. Ethanol also reduced the ability of the PPARα ligand WY14,643 to activate reporter constructs in the hepatoma cells or cultured rat hepatocytes. This effect of ethanol was abolished by the alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor 4-methylpyrazole and augmented by the aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor cyanamide, indicating that acetaldehyde was responsible for the action of ethanol. PPARα/retinoid X receptor extracted from hepatoma cells exposed to ethanol or acetaldehyde bound poorly to an oligonucleotide containing peroxisome proliferator response elements. This effect was also blocked by 4-methylpyrazole and augmented by cyanamide. Furthermore, in vitro translated PPARα exposed to acetaldehyde failed to bind DNA. Thus, ethanol metabolism blocks transcriptional activation by PPARα, in part due to impairment of its ability to bind DNA. This effect of ethanol may promote the development of alcoholic fatty liver and other hepatic consequences of alcohol abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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