Alcohol-dependent liver cell necrosis in vitro: a new model

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Science  17 Apr 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4492, pp. 338-340
DOI: 10.1126/science.7209533


In alcoholic liver injury, necrosis is involved in the progression from benign fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis. However, there is no practical model of alcohol-dependent liver cell necrosis. The calcium-dependent killing of cultured rat hepatocytes by two different membrane-active hepatotoxins, galactosamine and phalloidin, is potentiated by ethyl alcohol. This indicates that some general physical effect of alcohol on cellular membranes renders cells susceptible to otherwise nonlethal injuries. The in vitro model described in this report may thus be used to search for a general mechanism underlying alcohol-related tissue injury.