Alcohol's contribution to compromised immunity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Alcoholics frequently suffer from infectious diseases and have increased rates of some cancers, indicating that alcohol impairs the immune system, which protects the body against this type of damage. Alcohol interferes with the functions of many of the cells and molecules that are part of the immune system. For example, alcohol inhibits the functions of the cells that ingest and destroy invading microorganisms (i.e., neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages). Both acute and chronic alcohol exposure also alter the production of signaling molecules that help coordinate the immune response (i.e., cytokines). Finally, alcohol adversely affects the functions of the cells that mediate the immune response against specific microorganisms and long-term immunity (i.e., T cells and B cells). As a result, alcoholics have an increased susceptibility to diseases caused by bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Alcoholics also may be more susceptible to infections from the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, alcohol intoxication can exacerbate the immune suppression that occurs after traumatic injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol Research and Health
Volume21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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Immunity
Alcohols
Alcoholics
Immune System
Somatotypes
Alcoholic Intoxication
Disease Susceptibility
Virus Diseases
Bacterial Infections
Communicable Diseases
Monocytes
Pneumonia
Tuberculosis
Neutrophils
B-Lymphocytes
Macrophages
HIV
Cytokines
T-Lymphocytes
Wounds and Injuries

Keywords

  • AODE (alcohol and other drug effects)
  • Bacterial disease
  • Cytokines
  • HIV infection
  • Immune disorder
  • Immune response
  • Immune system
  • Inflammation
  • Injury
  • Literature review
  • Oxygen radicals
  • Pathologic process
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Alcohol's contribution to compromised immunity. / Szabó, G.

In: Alcohol Research and Health, Vol. 21, No. 1, 1997, p. 30-38.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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