Effects of ethanol on the permeability of frog skin

Thomas Yorio, P. J. Bentley

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7 Scopus citations


Ethanol (3%) decreases the potential difference and short circuit current across the isolated frog skin in chloride Ringer's solution. Unidirectional fluxes of Na and Cl indicate that the drop in short circuit current is due to an inhibition of the sodium influx. However, ethanol had no effect on the electrical parameters or sodium fluxes, when the frog skin was bathed in chloride free solutions on both sides or the outside alone. The ethanol response is anion dependent. In addition, chloride free media in the inside bathing solution reduced the short circuit current, indicating a sodium transport pathway which is dependent on chloride and confirming previous data in the literature. Other anions such as sulfate and nitrate could not substitute for chloride. The vasopressin induced natriferic response and the ethanol effect were found to work independently of each other and different pathways of action are suggested for these agents. The intracellular sodium content of the isolated frog skin epithelium increased and potassium decreased in the presence of the Na K adenosine triphosphatase inhibitor, ouabain, whereas ethanol or amiloride had no effect. The oxygen consumption of the isolated frog skin was unaffected by up to 10% ethanol. A general metabolic action is probably thus not mediating the response. Urea, in iso osmotic concentrations to the ethanol, did not mimic its effect. Tritiated water fluxes (in the absence of an osmotic gradient) were reduced by 30% in the presence of 3% ethanol. It is suggested that ethanol may impede the flow of water across frog skin by a physicochemical interaction with membrane pores and the water molecules. The permeability coefficient (Ktrans) for ethanol was found to be 10 times smaller than the Ktrans for water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-351
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1976


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