Alcohols Effect on Host Defense PMC

In contrast to the treatment of cells prior to inflammatory stimulation, treating cells with alcohol afterward reduces the IL-8 release significantly after an incubation period of one hour. In vivo findings of blood samples obtained from mice, which were exposed to alcohol (6 g/kg) before being injected with 2 × log ² E. Coli (intraperitoneally), display a decrease in the systemic CXCL9 release, increased IL-10, and lowered IL-6 and IL-12 production after 17 hours. These data underline not only the reduction of pro-inflammatory interleukins but an increase of anti-inflammatory cytokines in serum samples as well [129]. In line with these results, using the same binge drinking model, wild-type mice show decreased levels of IL-15, TNFα, IL-9, IL-1β & IL-1α, IL-13, IL-17, and IL-6, while IL-10 and MIP-2 are increased in the peritoneal lavage fluid [23]. However, this is not represented in each compartment of the body, as acute alcohol use may deter TNFα production in serum, but, on the other hand, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid TNFα levels in the mouse model were not altered at any time after infection [81].

  • Acetaldehyde is the toxic byproduct that contributes to tissue damage, alcohol dependence, and addiction (Zakhari 2006).
  • Several lines of evidence suggest that alcohol consumption exerts a dose-dependent impact on the host response to infection.
  • This part of the immune response is specific to one particular pathogen and also creates an “immune memory” that allows the body to respond even faster and more effectively if a second infection with the same pathogen occurs.
  • While these monocyte populations can differentiate into macrophages or dendritic cells and augment tissue macrophages, they do not replenish tissue macrophages [155].
  • In fact, alcohol use has been shown to increase the susceptibility of drinkers to both bacterial and viral infections, as well as advance the progression of several chronic viral infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C.

These effects can impair the body’s defenses against a wide range of pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, as well as against damaged self and can affect tissues and organs throughout the body (see the figure). Thus, alcohol’s effects on innate immune responses seem to promote does alcohol suppress immune system inflammatory reactions, which may contribute to tissue damage in a variety of organs. Alcohol-related impairments of adaptive immune responses render the organism more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections, contributing to more severe or accelerated disease progression.

How alcohol affects the innate immune system

The same group shows a higher sensitivity of TLRs to congruent ligands, which has been reflected in increased TNFα levels. While antibiotics do not prevent the induction of TLR mRNA production, inhibition of the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase (NADPH oxidase) is effective in limiting hepatic TNFα levels [29]. These data indicate that reactive oxygen species (ROS) play an important role in inflammation, which is induced by chronic alcohol consumption [29]. Nevertheless, TLR3 examined in a binge-drinking mouse model with TLR3-/- and IL-10-/- knockout mice seemed to have an antagonistic effect to TLR4.

It can also bind to other proteins to form adducts, such as malondialdehyde (MDA) and MDA-acetaldehyde (MAA), which play a key role in the development of liver injury and stimulate antibody responses that further promote liver inflammation and fibrosis (Tuma and Casey 2003). In addition, oxidation of ethanol by CYP2E1 leads to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Elevated levels of ROS cause oxidative stress which has been shown to play a role in several harmful processes including cancer development, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and inflammation (Tuma and Casey 2003).

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Immune System

PMNs produce a host of bacteria-killing (i.e., bactericidal) molecules (e.g., myeloperoxidase, defensins, azurophil-derived bactericidal factors, bactericidal permeability-increasing protein, cationic proteins, gelatinase, and lactoferrin). In addition, PMNs participate in the regulation of the local defense response by releasing signaling molecules called cytokines and chemokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α; interleukin [IL]-1β, IL-6, and IL-8; and macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP]-2). These molecules help recruit and activate additional PMNs as well as macrophages to the site of an injury or infection. The body constantly is exposed to pathogens that penetrate either our external surface (i.e., the skin), through wounds or burns, or the internal surfaces (i.e., epithelia) lining the respiratory and gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. The first line of defense is called the innate immunity;1 it exists from birth, before the body is even exposed to a pathogen. It is an immediate and rapid response that is activated by any pathogen it encounters (i.e., is nonspecific); in addition, it plays a key role in the activation of the second level of the immune response, termed the adaptive or acquired immunity.

Soon after, the World Health Organization (WHO) also suggested that people cut back on drinking, since alcohol can increase the risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19. Palindromic SNPs introduce ambiguity for the identity of effect alleles in exposure and outcome data. Sensitivity analysis removing palindromic SNPs (Table 1) revealed similar null associations for all autoimmune disorders. For a conceptual framework of our MR (a flowchart of current study), please see Supplementary Figure 1; for characteristics of exposure and outcome genetic data, please see Supplementary Table 1. Despite these issues, Leclercq is moving forward with her research, and is now looking at nutrition as a way to improve the gut microbiome.

How Much Alcohol Is a Problem For Your Immunity?

Only if a pathogen can evade the different components of this response (i.e., structural barriers as well as cell-mediated and humoral responses) does the infection become established and an adaptive immune response ensues. Future studies aimed at uncovering the mechanisms underlying dose-dependent modulation of immune function should also investigate changes in gene expression patterns, as well as factors that regulate gene expression including microRNAs and epigenetic changes within specific immune cell populations. Additionally, the role of alcohol-induced changes in the microbiome on immunity should be studied. Recent studies have shown that the microbiome modulates immunity in the gut, and in turn, immunity modulates the microbiome in the gut (Belkaid and Hand 2014). Only two studies have examined alcohol-induced changes in colonic (Mutlu, Gillevet et al. 2012) and fecal microbiomes (Chen, Yang et al. 2011), and both studies focused on individuals with AUD.

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