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Alcohol Misuse and Kidney Injury: Epidemiological Evidence and Potential Mechanisms

Chronic alcohol consumption is a well-known risk factor for tissue injury. The link between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and kidney injury is intriguing but controversial, and the molecular mechanisms by which alcohol may damage the kidneys are poorly understood. Epidemiological studies attempting to link AUD and kidney disease are, to date, inconclusive, and there is little experimental evidence...

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.

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...

Maternal Substance Use: Consequences, Identification, and Interventions

Alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis are the substances most frequently used during pregnancy, and opioid-exposed pregnancies have increased fourfold. The purpose of this review is to describe the prevalence and consequences of prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and opioids. Currently available screening questionnaires for prenatal substance use are summarized and contrasted with the...

Circadian Genes, the Stress Axis, and Alcoholism

Alcohol abuse and dependence are estimated to affect 1 in 8 adults in the United States and several hundred million people worldwide (Grant et al. 2004). To define at-risk populations and develop better treatments, it is important to further identify the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to alcohol addiction. Recent evidence suggests that the body’s internal system that helps...

Macrophages and Alcohol-Related Liver Inflammation

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a complex disease that affects millions of people worldwide and eventually can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer (i.e., hepatocellular carcinoma). Aside from the direct cytotoxic and the oxidative-stress–mediated effects that alcohol and its metabolite, acetaldehyde, exert on hepatocytes, alcohol ingestion activates both the innate and adaptive immune...

Development, Prevention, and Treatment of Alcohol-Induced Organ Injury: The Role of Nutrition

Alcohol and nutrition have the potential to interact at multiple levels. For example, heavy alcohol consumption can interfere with normal nutrition, resulting in overall malnutrition or in deficiencies of important micronutrients, such as zinc, by reducing their absorption or increasing their loss. Interactions between alcohol consumption and nutrition also can affect epigenetic regulation of gene...

Circadian Disruption: Potential Implications in Inflammatory and Metabolic Diseases Associated With Alcohol

Circadian Disruption and Society

The circadian clock is a sophisticated mechanism that functions to synchronize (i.e., entrain) endogenous systems with the 24-hour day in a wide variety of organisms, from simple organisms such as fungi up to the complex mammalian systems. Circadian rhythms control a variety of biological processes, including sleep/wake cycles, body temperature, hormone...

Epigenetic Effects of Ethanol on the Liver and Gastrointestinal System

Epigenetic modifications are emerging as important dynamic mechanisms contributing to both transient and sustained changes in gene expression. In some cases, epigenetic changes even can be inherited, although the mechanism for this remains elusive. Several types of epigenetic modifications have been studied in recent years. For example, several laboratories have actively examined modifications, of...

Alcohol Use Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

Alcohol use and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are inextricably and bidirectionally linked. Alcohol intoxication is one of the strongest predictors of TBI, and a substantial proportion of TBIs occur in intoxicated individuals. An inverse relationship is also emerging, such that TBI can serve as a risk factor for, or modulate the course of, alcohol use disorder (AUD). Critically, alcohol use after...