S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine Co-administration Prevents the Ethanol-Elicited Dissociation of Hepatic Mitochondrial Ribosomes in Male Rats

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Chronic ethanol feeding to male rats has been shown to result in decreased mitochondrial translation, depressed respiratory complex levels and mitochondrial respiration rates. In addition, ethanol consumption has been shown to result in an increased dissociation of mitoribosomes. S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) is required for the assembly and subsequent stability of mitoribosomes and is depleted during chronic ethanol feeding. The ability of dietary SAM co-administration to prevent these ethanol-elicited lesions was investigated.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a nutritionally adequate liquid diet with ethanol comprising 36% of the calories according to a pair-fed design for 28 days. For some animals, SAM was supplemented in the diet at 200 mg/l. Liver mitochondria were prepared and mitoribosomes isolated. Respiration rates, ATP levels, respiratory complex levels, and the extent of mitoribosome dissociation were determined.


Twenty-eight days of ethanol feeding were found to result in decreased SAM content, depressed respiration, and increased mitoribosome dissociation. No changes in mitochondrial protein content; levels of respiratory complexes I, III, and V; complex I activities; and ATP levels were detected. Co-administration of SAM in the diet was found to prevent ethanol-induced SAM depletion, respiration decreases and mitoribosome dissociation.


Taken together, these findings suggest (1) that mitoribosome dissociation precedes respiratory complex depressions in alcoholic animals and (2) that dietary supplementation of SAM prevents some of the early mitochondrial lesions associated with chronic ethanol consumption.

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