Acute alcohol use is associated with impaired immune responses and decreased proinflammatory cytokine production. Our earlier studies have shown that acute alcohol intake inhibits NF-κB DNA binding in an IκBα-independent manner. We report using human peripheral blood monocytes and Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with CD14 cells that acute alcohol treatment in vitro exerts NF-κB inhibition by disrupting phosphorylation of p65. Immunoprecipitation of p65 and IκBα revealed that acute alcohol exposure for 1 h decreased NF-κB-IκBα complexes in the cytoplasm. Phosphorylation of p65 at Ser536 is mediated by IκB kinase (IKK)β and is required for NF-κB-dependent cellular responses. We show that acute alcohol treatment decreased LPS-induced IKKα and IKKβ activity resulting in decreased phosphorylation of p65 at Ser536. Furthermore, nuclear expression of IKKα increased after alcohol treatment, which may contribute to inhibition of NF-κB. Decreased phosphorylation of nuclear p65 at Ser276 was likely not due to alcohol-induced inhibition of protein kinase A and mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase-1 activity. Although decreased IκBα phosphorylation after acute alcohol treatment was attributable to reduced IKKβ activity, degradation of IκBα during alcohol exposure was IKKβ-independent. Alcohol-induced degradation of IκBα in the presence of a 26S proteasome inhibitor suggested proteasome-independent IκBα degradation. Collectively, our studies suggest that acute alcohol exposure modulates IκBα-independent NF-κB activity primarily by affecting phosphorylation of p65. These findings further implicate an important role for IKKβ in the acute effects of alcohol in immune cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy