Chronic and excessive alcohol abuse cause direct and indirect detrimental effects on a wide range of body organs and systems and accounts for ∼4% of deaths worldwide. Many factors influence the harmful effects of alcohol. This concise review presents newer insights into the role of select second hits in influencing the progression of alcohol-induced organ damage by synergistically acting to generate a more dramatic downstream biological defect. This review specifically addresses on how a lifestyle factor of high fat intake exacerbates alcoholic liver injury and its progression. This review also provides the mechanistic insights into how increasing matrix stiffness during liver injury promotes alcohol-induced fibrogenesis. It also discusses how hepatotropic viral (HCV, HBV) infections as well as HIV (which is traditionally not known to be hepatotropic), are potentiated by alcohol exposure to promote hepatotoxicity and fibrosis progression. Finally, this review highlights the impact of reactive aldehydes generated during alcohol and cigarette smoke coexposure impair innate antimicrobial defense and increased susceptibility to infections. This review was inspired by the symposium held at the 17th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical research on Alcoholism in Lille, France entitled 'Second hits in alcohol-related organ damage'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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