Tolerance and cross-tolerance in chronic alcoholics: reduced membrane binding of ethanol and other drugs

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Science  31 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4507, pp. 583-585
DOI: 10.1126/science.6264608


Membrane binding of ethanol, anesthetics, and hydrophobic molecules in brain synaptosomes and liver mitochondria from rats is conspicuously reduced after long-term consumption of ethanol. The membranes are resistant to structural disordering by both ethanol and halothane. Tolerance, cross-tolerance, and dependence in chronic alcoholics may in part result from membrane alterations that inhibit the binding of ethanol and other drugs.