The effects of chronic ethanol feeding on protein and glycoprotein synthesis and secretion were studied in rat liver slices. Liver slices from rats fed ethanol for 4-5 wk showed a decreased ability to incorporate [14C]glucosamine into medium trichloracetic acidprecipitable proteins when compared to the pair-fed controls; however, the labeling of hepatocellular glycoproteins was unaffected by chronic ethanol treatment. Immunoprecipitation of radiolabeled secretory (serum) glycoproteins with antiserum against rat serum proteins showed a similar marked inhibition in the appearance of glucosamine-labeled proteins in the medium of slices from ethanol-fed rats. Minimal effects, however, were noted in the labeling of intracellular secretory glycoproteins. Protein synthesis, as determined by measuring [14C]leucine incorporation into medium and liver proteins, was decreased in liver slices from ethanol-fed rats as compared to the pair-fed controls. This was the case for both total proteins as well as immunoprecipitable secretory proteins, although the labeling of secretory proteins retained in the liver slices was reduced to a lesser extent than total radiolabeled hepatic proteins. When the terminal sugar, [14C]fucose, was employed as a precursor in order to more closely focus on the final steps of hepatic glycoprotein secretion, liver slices obtained from chronic ethanol-fed rats exhibited impaired secretion of fucose-labeled proteins into the medium. When ethanol (5 or 10 mM) was added to the incubation medium containing liver slices from the ethanol-fed rats, the alterations in protein and glycoprotein synthesis and secretion caused by the chronic ethanol treatment were further potentiated. The results of this study indicate that liver slices prepared from chronic ethanol-fed rats exhibit both impaired synthesis and secretion of proteins and glycoproteins, and these defects are further potentiated by acute ethanol administration.
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