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Alcohol Metabolism and Epigenetics Changes

The concept that only DNA and proteins can impact disease states is an oversimplification. It does not take into account different metabolic pathways in which key metabolites bind to transcription factors and alter gene expression patterns that contribute to the observable characteristics (the phenotype) of a given disease. Simple metabolites dictate the actions of specific transcription factors...

Biology, Genetics, and Environment: Underlying Factors Influencing Alcohol Metabolism

Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that drinking patterns and the prevalence of alcohol-related adverse consequences, including alcohol use disorder (AUD), differ substantially among racial/ethnic groups in the United States. For example, analyses comparing drinking patterns and their consequences among Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics found the following: Whites have the highest...

Genes Encoding Enzymes Involved in Ethanol Metabolism

The duration and extent of the body’s exposure to beverage alcohol (i.e., ethanol) is the primary determinant of ethanol’s pleiotropic effects on human health (Edenberg 2007). The time course of its concentration and the concentration of its byproducts in the tissues and the circulation, and, consequently, its effects, are determined mainly by the rate of ethanol’s processing (i.e., metabolism) in...

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...

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...

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...

Measuring the Burden—Current and Future Research Trends: Results From the NIAAA Expert Panel on Alcohol and Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Research is continuing to investigate how alcohol impacts chronic disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) hosted a 2-day Expert Panel on Alcohol and Chronic Disease Epidemiology in August 2011 to review the state of the field on alcohol and chronic disease. The panel was chaired by Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., and Rosalind A. Breslow, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., and was...

Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation

In large amounts, alcohol and its metabolites can overwhelm the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and liver and lead to damage both within the GI and in other organs. Specifically, alcohol and its metabolites promote intestinal inflammation through multiple pathways. That inflammatory response, in turn, exacerbates alcohol-induced organ damage, creating a vicious cycle and leading to additional...

Binge Drinking’s Effects on the Body

Alcohol misuse is the fifth-leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide, and, adjusting for age, alcohol is the leading risk factor for mortality and the overall burden of disease in the 15 to 59 age group. According to the World Health Organization, in 2004, 4.5% of the global burden of disease and injury was attributable to alcohol: 7.4% for men and 1.4% for women.

Alcoholic Liver Disease: Pathogenesis and Current Management

Excessive alcohol consumption is a global healthcare problem. The liver sustains the greatest degree of tissue injury by heavy drinking because it is the primary site of ethanol metabolism. Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption produces a wide spectrum of hepatic lesions, the most characteristic of which are steatosis, hepatitis, and fibrosis/cirrhosis. Steatosis is the earliest response to...