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Binge Alcohol Ingestion Has Acute Immunomodulatory Effects

Early pro-inflammatory state evident at 20 minutes; anti-inflammatory state seen at two, five hours

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 31, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A single binge alcohol intoxication episode has acute immunomodulatory effects, according to a study published online Dec. 4 in Alcohol.

Majid Afshar, M.D., from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the early immunomodulatory effects of alcohol while blood alcohol is still elevated. Blood was collected for analysis in human volunteers who achieved binge alcohol intoxication. Collections were made prior to alcohol ingestion and at 20 minutes, two hours, and five hours after alcohol ingestion.

The researchers found that at 20 minutes when blood alcohol levels were about 130 mg/dL, an early pro-inflammatory state was evident and was characterized by an increase in total circulating leukocytes, monocytes, and natural killer cells. A transient increase in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced tumor necrosis factor-α levels was seen during this time, and enhanced LPS sensitivity occurred. An anti-inflammatory state was seen at two and five hours post-alcohol binge, with a reduced number of circulating monocytes and natural killer cells, attenuated LPS-induced interleukin-1β levels, and a trend toward increased interleukin-10 levels.

"A single episode of binge alcohol intoxication exerted effects on the immune system that caused an early and transient pro-inflammatory state followed by an anti-inflammatory state," the authors write.

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