Various studies have established the possibility of non-bacterial methane (CH4) generation in oxido-reductive stress conditions in plants and animals. Increased ethanol input is leading to oxido-reductive imbalance in eukaryotes, thus our aim was to provide evidence for the possibility of ethanol-induced methanogenesis in non-CH4 producer humans, and to corroborate the in vivo relevance of this pathway in rodents. Healthy volunteers consumed 1.15 g/kg/day alcohol for 4 days and the amount of exhaled CH4 was recorded by high sensitivity photoacoustic spectroscopy. Additionally, Sprague-Dawley rats were allocated into control, 1.15 g/kg/day and 2.7 g/kg/day ethanol-consuming groups to detect the whole-body CH4 emissions and mitochondrial functions in liver and hippocampus samples with high-resolution respirometry. Mitochondria-targeted L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC) can increase tolerance to liver injury, thus the effects of GPC supplementations were tested in further ethanol-fed groups. Alcohol consumption was accompanied by significant CH4 emissions in both human and rat series of experiments. 2.7 g/kg/day ethanol feeding reduced the oxidative phosphorylation capacity of rat liver mitochondria, while GPC significantly decreased the alcohol-induced CH4 formation and hepatic mitochondrial dysfunction as well. These data demonstrate a potential for ethanol to influence human methanogenesis, and suggest a biomarker role for exhaled CH4 in association with mitochondrial dysfunction.
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