Rates of ethanol metabolism by alcohol dehydrogenase, the microsomal ethanol oxidizing system (MEOS), and catalase were similar in liver preparations from young (4–5 months) and old (24–27 months) female Fischer 344 rats. On the other hand, rates of acetaldehyde metabolism by mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) were 15–20% lower in livers of old rats than in those of younger ones. Results with the ALDH inhibitor cyanamide indicated that a decline in ALDH activity of this magnitude would not increase acute ethanol hepatotoxicity.

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