Health anxiety and hypochondriasis : the patient's perspective : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
A hyperglycemic effect of ethanol has been reported in fed animals, but is poorly documented and in general, little work has been done on the effects of ethanol on carbohydrate metabolism in the fed state. This study is a further extension of research investigating the effect of ethanol on liver carbohydrate metabolism, as liver is a major source of glucose output in fed animals. It has been suggested that the hyperglycemic condition might be caused by an ethanol-stimulated liver glycogenolysis. Because it was possible that the actions of ethanol were a direct effect on carbohydrate stores rather than an effect mediated by hormones, ethanol was tested on a simple unicellular organism Ochromonas danica where hormonal mechanisms are absent. It appears that ethanol docs cause a reduction of Ochromonas carbohydrate stores in the absence of hormones. The major difficulty in using this organism was that its carbohydrate content could change according to the osmotic pressure in the external environment which therefore had to be strictly controlled. Following the initial work using Ochromonas danica, further experiments were earned out using fed rats to assess the effects of ethanol on tissue glycogen stores. Spraguc-Dawley rats were administered with an acute dose of ethanol (6g/kg). The effect of ethanol on the liver glycogen content of the animals was examined at 45, 90 and 180 minutes after the dose given. It appears that ethanol would lead to a significant decrease in liver glycogen content in both male and female rats at any given time. However, the decrease was not as much as that reported in the literature. Presumably this is due to the differences in ethanol administration, assays of liver glycogen and the strains of animals used in the experiment The glycogen content in other tissues such as heart, kidney and muscle was also investigated but little difference was observed with ethanol treatment except in muscle, which showed some increase in glycogen content especially in the males. It is interesting that the free glucose concentrations in these tissues were not elevated as might have been expected if liver glycogen breakdown had occurred. Moreover, ATP levels were also observed to be unchanged. The female rats were found to metabolise ethanol at a slower rate than males. The ethanol concentration in their extrahepatic tissues was similar to the calculated theoretical value for initial ethanol absorption. However in male rats, it is lower than the theoretical value. This indicates that the ethanol clearance curve for these tissues was not linear, and this implies that other factors such as delayed absorption or a first-pass effect (Lieber et al., 1994) might occur.