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Moderate Alcohol Intake May Help Prevent Arthritis

Study in mice suggests that low alcohol consumption may be similarly protective in humans

MONDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- In mice, low alcohol consumption reduces the risk of developing collagen-induced arthritis, suggesting that safe levels of alcohol consumption may be beneficial in humans, according to study results published online Dec. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Andrej Tarkowski, M.D., of Goteborg University in Goteborg, Sweden, and colleagues placed collagen type II-immunized mice on a daily regimen of either tap water or water supplemented with 10 percent ethanol.

Nine days after the mice received a booster immunization with collagen type II, the researchers found that only five of the 25 ethanol-drinking mice (20 percent) showed signs of arthritis compared to 23 of the 27 control mice (85 percent).

"Mice exposed daily to this dose of ethanol did not display any liver toxicity, and the development of erosive arthritis was almost totally abrogated," the authors write. "In contrast, the antibody-mediated effector phase of collagen-induced arthritis was not influenced by ethanol exposure. Also, the major ethanol metabolite, acetaldehyde, prevented the development of arthritis."

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