This chapter describes the relationship between alcohol-induced apoptosis and liver function. Alcohol abuse and/or dependence are related to many major medical problems and the chronic consumption of ethanol has been associated with an increased risk of stroke, cancer, osteoporosis, lung infections, neurological changes, and the development of alcoholic liver disease. Although much has been learned about the medical symptoms associated with alcohol-related diseases, the search continues for a better understanding of the molecular and/or cellular mechanisms by which ethanol exerts its deleterious effects. One particular cellular event that is observed in alcohol-induced diseases that may contribute to adverse pathology is the increased production and subsequent accumulation of apoptotic cells. Apoptosis is an active and highly regulated mode of cell death, which in a healthy organ helps to maintain tissue homeostasis. However, when apoptotic death factors are inappropriately expressed because of the introduction of a pathological stimulus such as alcohol, deleterious effects to the organism may occur. Moreover, if the production of apoptotic cells becomes large enough to overwhelm the protection obtained from dead cell removal, a loss of tissue organization and organ viability may occur.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)