Differential effects of retinoids and chronic ethanol consumption on membranes in rats

C. I. Kim, M. A. Leo, N. Lowe, C. S. Lieber

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12 Scopus citations


Liver plasma membranes (LPM) were prepared from vitamin A-deficient and -sufficient rats as well as from animals treated with retinoic acid, with or without ethanol. Although the fluorescence polarization value of LPM prepared from retinoic acid-fed animals was significantly lower than that of controls (0.201 ± 0.008 vs. 0.254 ± 0.005, P < 0.001), no effect was seen with a vitamin A-deficient diet (0.259 ± 0.005). No change in the fluorescence polarization was observed in erythrocyte ghost membranes with either vitamin A deficiency or chronic ethanol consumption. The sialic acid concentration of the membranes was significantly higher in LPM and erythrocyte ghosts obtained from vitamin A-deficient animals (37.6 ± 1.1 vs. 29.6 ± 0.7 nmol/mg protein for LPM, P < 0.01, and 77.7 ± 0.6 vs. 62.0 ± 1.7 for erythrocyte ghosts, P < 0.001); the LPM of retinoic acid-treated animals had the lowest values (26.9 ± 1.6 nmol/mg protein). This sialic acid concentration of LPM was positively correlated with the fluorescence polarization (r = 0.775, P < 0.001). Chronic ethanol feeding resulted in lower hepatic and LPM vitamin A and greater LPM fluidity with higher cholesterol esters in all diet groups (P < 0.001). Because increased sialic acid concentration has been incriminated in the pathogenesis of tumor development, it may provide a mechanism whereby lowered hepatic vitamin A promotes carcinogenesis and retinoic acid feeding opposes this process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1103
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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