Chronic ethanol consumption increases mitochondrial oxidative stress and sensitivity to form the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). The mechanism responsible for increased MPTP sensitivity in ethanol-exposed mitochondria and its relation to mitochondrial Ca2+ handling is unknown. Herein, we investigated whether increased sensitivity to MPTP induction in liver mitochondria from ethanol-fed rats compared with controls is related to an ethanoldependent change in mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation. Liver mitochondria were isolated from control and ethanol-fed rats, and Ca 2+-mediated induction of the MPTP and mitochondrial Ca2+ retention capacity were measured. Levels of proposed MPTP proteins as well as select pro- and antiapoptotic proteins were measured along with gene expression. We observed increased steatosis and TUNEL-stained nuclei in liver of ethanol-fed rats compared with controls. Liver mitochondria from ethanol-fed rats had increased levels of proapoptotic Bax protein and reduced Ca 2+ retention capacity compared with control mitochondria. We observed increased cyclophilin D (Cyp D) gene expression in liver and protein in mitochondria from ethanol-fed animals compared with controls, whereas there was no change in the adenine nucleotide translocase and voltage-dependent anion channel. Together, these results suggest that enhanced sensitivity to Ca 2+-mediated MPTP induction may be due, in part, to higher Cyp D levels in liver mitochondria from ethanol-fed rats. Therefore, therapeutic strategies aimed at normalizing Cyp D levels may be beneficial in preventing ethanol-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction and liver injury. Copyright © 2010 the American Physiological Society.