How do methanol and higher alcohols found in alcoholic beverages affect membrane fluidity and migration of granulocytes?

László Pál, Orsolya Bujdosó, Sándor Szűcs, Gergő Baranyi, Veronika Sebestyén, György Vámosi, Gábor Rácz, Róza Ádány, Martin McKee, Ervin M. Árnyas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ethanol-induced changes in membrane fluidity and migration of granulocytes has been suggested to contribute to development of alcoholic hepatitis. Besides ethanol other aliphatic alcohols (OAAs) have been detected in alcoholic beverages. We examined the effects of OAAs alone and in combination with ethanol on these processes. Granulocytes isolated from human blood were treated separately with methanol, ethanol, and a mixture of OAAs including methanol, 1-propanol, 2-propanol, 1-butanol, 2-butanol, isobutanol, and isoamyl alcohol at biologically relevant concentrations. The membrane fluidity and migration activity of granulocytes was examined by fluorescence anisotropy method and migration chambers, respectively. Our findings showed that OAAs increased membrane fluidity and migration activity of granulocytes in a concentration-dependent manner and when combined with ethanol they caused a further increase in the migration activity of granulocytes. It is possible that OAAs consumed with alcoholic beverages may further enhance migration of granulocytes in heavy drinkers and contribute to ethanol-induced liver damage. Practical applications. The consumption of OAAs in alcoholic beverages has been hypothesized as an additional risk factor for the development of alcoholic liver diseases. To confirm this suggestion, the potentially adverse effects of exposure to OAAs should be further examined. Our investigation provides new toxicological data on the effects of OAAs found in alcoholic beverages. The results of this study can be used for more precise toxicological evaluations to clarify whether OAAs may pose an additional risk factor for the development of alcoholic liver diseases. Furthermore, information on the harmful effects of OAAs could enable health policy makers to make evidence-based decisions when implementing new regulations on alcoholic beverages.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12593
JournalJournal of Food Biochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018



  • alcohol consumption
  • alcoholic liver damage
  • aliphatic alcohols
  • granulocytes
  • membrane fluidity
  • membrane fluidity
  • migration
  • migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Biophysics
  • Pharmacology
  • Cell Biology

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