In vivo hepatic tissue oxygen tension (hepatic tissue PO2) and regional hepatic blood volume were investigated by thin needle oxygen electrode and organ-reflectance spectrophotometry in chronically ethanol treated and pair-fed control rats. The hepatic tissue PO2 in chronically ethanol treated rats (7.1 ± 2.9 mmHg) was significantly lower than that in control rats (16.6 ± 8.8 mmHg). In chronically ethanol treated rats, the regional hepatic blood volume was signifcantly lower as compared with that in control rats. After acute oral ethanol administration (1 g/kg BW), the hepatic tissue PO2 in control rats increased about twofolds over basal level, while in chronically ethanol treated rats, the hepatic tissue PO2 decreased transiently, followed by a gradual increase. The increase of regional hepatic blood volume in chronically ethanol treated rats (4.9%) was lower than that in control rats (8.4%). It is concluded that in rats the liver was hypoxic even in the stage of fatty liver, probably due to the decreased hepatic blood supply.
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