For citation purposes: Mukherjee S. Alcohol metabolism and generation of free radicals: A deep insight. OA Alcohol 2014 Jul 18;2(1):10.

Critical review


Alcohol metabolism and generation of free radicals: A deep insight.

S Mukherjee

Authors affiliations

(1) Department of Biochemistry NRI Institute of Medical Sciences Visakhapatnam-531162, India

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Alcohol is readily distributed throughout the body in the aqueous blood stream after consumption as it is miscible in water.

This paper critically evaluates and highlights the various aspects of alcohol metabolism and elucidates the role of Reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream and metabolized primarily in the liver by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH). ADH plays a crucial role in the conversion of alcohol to acetaldehyde, which is then converted to acetate by the actions of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). The impact of alcohol metabolism on generation of ROS in the cell is linked to its metabolism via oxidative processes. It has also been observed that alcohol deplete GSH levels, particularly in the mitochondria, which normally are characterized by high levels of GSH needed to eliminate the reactive oxygen species generated during the various activities of the respiratory chain.


This paper reports the mechanism of alcohol metabolism, the role of reactive oxygen species from some of our studies and highlights the exact role of alcohol metabolism and its byproducts in the generation of ROS.

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