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Vol. 7, No. 2-3, 2007
Issue release date: July 2007
Free Access
Pancreatology 2007;7:115–123

Effect of Ethanol on Inflammatory Responses

Implications for Pancreatitis

Szabo G.a · Mandrekar P.a · Oak S.a · Mayerle J.b
aDepartment of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Mass., USA; bDepartment of Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Nutrition, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Monocyte
  • Cytokine
  • NF-κB

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background/Aims: Alcohol use alters inflammatory cell responses. While alcohol has direct effects on pancreatic acinar cells, activation of inflammatory cells is a major component of the pathology of alcoholic pancreatitis. Methods: The effects of acute or chronic alcohol exposure were evaluated in human monocytes on the production of TNFα or IL-10 production, pro-inflammatory gene and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation. Results: Moderate, acute alcohol consumption or equivalent doses of alcohol in vitro had anti-inflammatory effects on monocyte activation via inhibition of pro-inflammatory genes and NF-κB activation, inhibition of TNFα production and augmentation of the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10. In contrast, acute alcohol treatment augmented NF-κB activation and TNFα production and inhibited IL-10 levels in the presence of complex stimulation with combined TLR2 and TLR4 ligands. Prolonged alcohol exposure also resulted in an increase in NF-κB and TNFα production in response to TLR4 stimulation with LPS. Conclusion: These results suggest that alcohol can either attenuate or promote inflammatory responses that are critical in pancreatitis. Our results support the hypothesis that both acute alcohol intake in the presence of complex stimuli (such as necrotic cells) and chronic alcohol exposure result in hyper-responsiveness of monocytes to inflammatory signals and may contribute to increased inflammation in pancreatitis.

Copyright © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel and IAP

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD
Hepatology and Liver Center, Department of Medicine
University of Massachusetts Medical Center, 364 Plantation Street LRB125
Worcester, MA 01605 (USA)
Tel. +1 508 856 5275 Fax +1 508 856 4770, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Published online: June 21, 2007
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 7, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 45

 goto top of outline Publication Details


Vol. 7, No. 2-3, Year 2007 (Cover Date: July 2007)

Journal Editor: Urrutia, R. (Rochester, Minn.)
ISSN: 1424–3903 (print), 1424–3911 (Online)

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