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Dig Dis. 2005;23(3-4):181-94.

Animal models and their results in gastrointestinal alcohol research.

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  • 1Department of Medicine II (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Infectious Diseases), University Hospital Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany.


Alcohol-induced diseases of the gastrointestinal tract play an important role in clinical gastroenterology. However, the precise pathophysiological mechanisms are still largely unknown. Alcohol research depends essentially on animal models due to the fact that controlled experimental studies of ethanol-induced diseases in humans are unethical. Animal models have already been successfully applied to disclose and analyze molecular mechanisms in alcohol-induced diseases, partially by using knockout technology. Because of a lack of transferability of some animal models to the human condition, results have to be interpreted cautiously. For some alcohol-related diseases like chronic alcoholic pancreatitis, the ideal animal model does not yet exist. Here we provide an overview of the most commonly used animal models in gastrointestinal alcohol research. We will also briefly discuss the findings based on animal models as well as the current concepts of pathophysiological mechanisms involved in acute and chronic alcoholic damage of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, pancreas and liver.

Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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