The effect of growth hormone on the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase was determined in hepatocyte culture from normal and hypophysectomized male rats. Alcohol dehydrogenase activity was highest in hepatocytes harvested from hypophysectomized rats. The enzyme activity remained stable in hepatocytes harvested from normal rats during 2 to 6 days of culture but declined steadily in hepatocytes cultured from hypophysectomized rats. The combination of growth hormone (1 μg per ml) and corticosterone (1 μM) increased alcohol dehydrogenase activity in hepatocytes from normal rats, while neither hormone alone had an effect. Corticosterone (1 μM) prevented the decline of the enzyme activity in hepatocytes from hypophysectomized rats, and the combination of growth hormone (1 μg per ml) and corticosterone (1 μM) resulted in a further increase in enzyme activity. The increases in alcohol dehydrogenase, due to the exposure of the hepatocytes to the combination of growth hormone and corticosterone, were associated with increases in the rate of ethanol elimination. These observations indicate that growth hormone enhances liver alcohol dehydrogenase activity and ethanol elimination, and that this effect is dependent on the permissive influence of corticosterone.
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