Changes in plasma amino acid patterns in chronic alcoholic patients during ethanol withdrawal syndrome: their clinical implications.


Majumdar SK, Shaw GK, Thomson AD




Med Hypotheses


Changes or imbalances in plasma amino acid patterns during withdrawal from ethanol were recorded in six randomly selected male chronic alcoholic patients (age range 23-47 years). Duration of drinking ranged from 4-15 years and their average daily amount of ethanol intake was more than 100G. Plasma amino acids (taurine, threonine, serine, glutamate, glutamine, proline, glycine, alanine, cysteine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, histidine, tryptophan, ornithine, lysine and arginine) were estimated by autoanalyzer in all patients on admission before starting conventional detoxification therapy for ethanol withdrawal syndrome, and during therapy on day 3 and day 6. On admission, there was a statistically significant rise in the plasma levels of almost all aminoacids, particularly glutamate, glutamine, phenylalanine, proline, glycine, methionine, cysteine, lysine, tyrosine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, serine, threonine, alanine and arginine (in comparison to those of normal controls) in five out of six patients. During the following six days of treatment and total abstinence, the pattern of plasma aminoacid levels did not change significantly despite considerable clinical improvement. Plasma tryptophan levels were undetectable in all patients on admission, day 3 and also on day 6 except in one patient with lesser amount and shorter duration of drinking, the levels just returned to within normal range only on day 6. Plasma levels of histidine and taurine were found to be slightly lower than normal.