Abstract The study analyzed the effects of chronic alcohol ingestion on the ultrastructure of the lining epithelium of the hard palatine mucosa of rats UChA and UChB (lines with voluntary alcohol consumption) in order to contribute to the understanding of the consequences of alcohol abuse for the morphology of the digestive system. Thirty female adult animals aged 120 days were divided into three experimental groups. (1) Ten UChA rats (genetically low ethanol consumer) with voluntary intake of 10% v/v (5.45g/kg/day) ethanol solution and water. (2) Ten UChB (genetically high ethanol consumer) rats with voluntary intake of 10% v/v (7.16g/kg/day) ethanol solution and water. (3) Ten Wistar rats with voluntary ad libitum water intake (control group). Both groups received Nuvital pellets ad libitum. The IGFR-I expression was intense in both experimental groups. The epithelial cells of the alcoholic rats UChA and UChB showed many alterations such as the presence of lipid droplets, altered nuclei, nuclei in corneum layer and disrupted mitochondria. It was concluded that ethanol intake induces ultrastructural lesions in the hard palatine mucosa.