Volume 29, Issue 2 (April 1984)
Metabolism of Acetone to Isopropyl Alcohol in Rats and Humans
Isopropyl alcohol and acetone have been detected in autopsy blood samples of individuals not previously exposed to these compounds. Since some of these individuals had a history of diabetes mellitus, it has been suggested that in these cases, reduction of acetone to isopropyl alcohol might be a metabolic pathway for its production. This hypothesis was investigated in a study of normal and diabetic rats. Acute administration of acetone resulted in measureable levels of isopropyl alcohol in blood. Metabolism of acetone to isopropyl alcohol was different in normal and diabetic animals. Blood levels of isopropanol reached a maximum at the second highest dose in normal rats, but there was a two-phase response in diabetic rats. In a second series of experiments, acetone was administered on alternate days for a week. In spite of this chronie administration (and persistence of high blood acetone), there was no enhancement of acetone metabolism to isopropyl alcohol. These experiments indicate that high levels of blood acetone could result in transformation to isopropyl alcohol.