A critical review of recent knowledge of alcohol's effects on the immunological response in different tissues

Kathryn Crotty, Paige Anton, Leon G. Coleman, Niya L. Morris, Sloan A. Lewis, Derrick R. Samuelson, Rachel H. McMahan, Phillipp Hartmann, Adam Kim, Anuradha Ratna, Pranoti Mandrekar, Todd A. Wyatt, Mashkoor A. Choudhry, Elizabeth J. Kovacs, Rebecca McCullough, Samantha M. Yeligar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Alcohol misuse contributes to the dysregulation of immune responses and multiorgan dysfunction across various tissues, which are associated with higher risk of morbidity and mortality in people with alcohol use disorders. Organ-specific immune cells, including microglia in the brain, alveolar macrophages in the lungs, and Kupffer cells in the liver, play vital functions in host immune defense through tissue repair and maintenance of homeostasis. However, binge drinking and chronic alcohol misuse impair these immune cells' abilities to regulate inflammatory signaling and metabolism, thus contributing to multiorgan dysfunction. Further complicating these delicate systems, immune cell dysfunction associated with alcohol misuse is exacerbated by aging and gut barrier leakage. This critical review describes recent advances in elucidating the potential mechanisms by which alcohol misuse leads to derangements in host immunity and highlights current gaps in knowledge that may be the focus of future investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • alcohol use disorder
  • immunity
  • inflammation
  • multi-organ dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • General Medicine


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