Continuing hepatic injury despite cessation of ethanol intake has suggested a potential role for altered humoral and cellular immunity in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease. Variation of cell-mediated response has been observed most commonly in patients with alcoholic hepatitis. These alterations include decreased mitogen response in vitro, reduction of circulating T-cell numbers with a corresponding increase of intrahepatic T-cells, lymphokine production in vitro in response to isolated alcoholic hyalin (Mallory bodies), and in vitro evidence of increased spontaneous cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Fewer immunologic alterations are detected in patients with alcoholic fatty liver or cirrhosis. At present, these observations have not established a definite causal relationship between ethanol-induced liver injury and immunologic mechanisms. Studies utilizing in vitro correlates of cellular immunity in alcoholics are carried out after development of hepatic injury. To establish the role of humoral and cellular immune events in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver injury will require development of a suitable animal model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas