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The Endocrine System and Alcohol Drinking in Females

Sexually dimorphic effects of alcohol exposure throughout life have been documented in clinical and preclinical studies. In the past, rates of alcohol use disorder (AUD) were higher in men than in women, but over the past 10 years, the difference between sexes in prevalence of AUD and binge drinking has narrowed. Recent evidence adds to historical data regarding the influence of sex steroids on...

Pathophysiology of the Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Endocrine System

Alcohol can permeate virtually every organ and tissue in the body, resulting in tissue injury and organ dysfunction. Considerable evidence indicates that alcohol abuse results in clinical abnormalities of one of the body’s most important systems, the endocrine system. This system ensures proper communication between various organs, also interfacing with the immune and nervous systems, and is...

Primer on the Immune System

Stress and the HPA Axis: Role of Glucocorticoids in Alcohol Dependence

Stress, generally defined as any stimulus that disrupts the body’s internal balance (i.e., physiological homeostasis), has long been suggested to be an important correlate of uncontrolled alcohol consumption or relapse to drinking following a period of abstinence. Large epidemiological studies have reported that a variety of stressors are associated with increased alcohol consumption and binge...

Neuroimmune Function and the Consequences of Alcohol Exposure

Induction of neuroimmune genes by binge drinking increases neuronal excitability and oxidative stress, contributing to the neurobiology of alcohol dependence and causing neurodegeneration. Ethanol exposure activates signaling pathways featuring high-mobility group box 1 and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), resulting in induction of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of...

Overview: Stress and Alcohol Use Disorders Revisited

In the 13 years since Alcohol Research & Health (now titled Alcohol Research: Current Reviews) first visited the topic of “Alcohol and Stress” (see Vol. 23, No. 4, 1999), there has been a sustained flow of new information in the field prompting us to publish this updated edition. Indeed, one could argue that this second look at the topic is long overdue. An entirely new lexicon of terms1 has been...

Natural Recovery by the Liver and Other Organs After Chronic Alcohol Use

Introduction

A vast body of evidence from human studies and animal research clearly indicates that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption causes structural damage and/or disrupts normal organ function in virtually every tissue of the body. In heavy consumers of alcohol, the liver is especially susceptible to alcohol-induced injury.1,2 Additionally, several other organs—including the...

Clinical Laboratory Stressors Used to Study Alcohol–Stress Relationships

A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between stress and alcohol use is important for understanding the risks of developing alcohol problems and subsequent relapse. Although the relationship is complex, substantial evidence supports that exposure to chronic stress early in life (e.g., Sher et al. 1997), adult trauma (Kessler et al. 1995), and the presence of anxiety disorders (Grant et...

Stress Glossary

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH): Also known as corticotropin, is a hormone produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. It is an important component of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and often is produced in response to biological stress (along with corticotropin-releasing factor from the hypothalamus). Its principal effects are increased production and release of...

Alcohol–Organ Interactions: Injury and Repair - Editor's Note

The association between alcohol misuse and organ damage, specifically liver disease, has been recognized for more than 200 years (Maher 1997). Yet it was not until the early 1970s that researchers demonstrated a direct causal relationship between drinking and this serious—and sometimes fatal—condition.