Free Radicals and Ethanol Toxicity
This chapter discusses the mechanisms that can lead to the formation of free radical species during ethanol intoxication and the possible involvement of oxidative events in causing ethanol-mediated injury to the gastrointestinal tract. The formation of reactive oxygen species such as superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide represents an important cause of oxidative injury in many diseases associated with free radical formation. The respiratory chain of mitochondria represents one of the main sources of superoxide anion in cells. The formation of superoxide anion by activated phagocytes represents an important source of oxidizing species in inflammated tissues. The function and structure of intestinal mucosa are often impaired as a result of alcohol abuse. A body of evidence exists that demonstrates that ethanoi metabolism is associated with the formation by various mechanisms of free radical intermediates.