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Primer on the Immune System

Alcohol and the Immune System - Editor's Note

Clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia. In recent decades, this association has been expanded to a greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), sepsis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and certain cancers; a higher incidence of postoperative complications...

Alcohol and HIV Effects on the Immune System

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and HIV infection both affect the immune system and frequently coexist in the same person, potentially multiplying the risk of infectious disease. Infectious disease, in turn, continues to be a major health concern and leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite major advances in our understanding of the immune system, improvements in sanitation...

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Developing Immune System

Most Americans are aware that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can injure the developing fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with their developmental, cognitive, and behavioral consequences, probably are the best known dangers (Bakoyiannis et al. 2014; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2009). However, drinking during pregnancy also can...

Impact of Alcohol Abuse on the Adaptive Immune System

In the United States, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the third-leading cause of preventable death. It is associated with increased susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia; viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV); and increased postoperative morbidity and mortality. This increased susceptibility is mediated in part by functional alterations in various cells of the immune system...

Alcohol’s Effects on Lung Health and Immunity

People have been drinking alcoholic beverages for millennia, and alcohol consumption has played an important role throughout human history, being linked to ancient and modern religions, early medicine, and social occasions and celebrations. Although alcohol consumption is socially accepted across many cultures, heavy and prolonged alcohol intake can lead not only to physical dependence but also...

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...

The Role of Innate Immunity in Alcoholic Liver Disease

Heavy consumption of alcohol poses a well-known health risk worldwide. Alcohol’s effects on health and well-being are numerous and include injuries and fatalities resulting from alcohol-induced incapacitation. Moreover, chronic and heavy alcohol consumption affects the integrity and function of vital tissues and organs, causing slow but significant structural and functional damage over time. One...

Alcohol’s Burden on Immunity Following Burn, Hemorrhagic Shock, or Traumatic Brain Injury

The incidence of traumatic injury in alcohol-intoxicated individuals continues to escalate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012a), more than 38 million American alcohol users consume 5 or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., binge drink) and do so about 4 times per month. This behavior is highly conducive to unintentional or accidental traumatic injury, which...