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World J Gastroenterol. 2011 May 28;17(20):2500-6. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i20.2500.

Mechanisms of alcohol-mediated hepatotoxicity in human-immunodeficiency-virus-infected patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, LRB-208, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, United States. gyongyi.szabo@umassmed.edu


Clinical observations have demonstrated that excessive chronic alcohol use negatively affects human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and contributes to the liver manifestations of the disease, even in HIV mono-infection. HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection is associated with increased progression of HVC liver disease compared to HCV infection alone, and both of these are negatively affected by alcohol use. Recent data suggest that alcohol use and HIV infection have common targets that contribute to progression of liver disease. Both HIV infection and chronic alcohol use are associated with increased gut permeability and elevated plasma levels of lipopolysaccharide; a central activator of inflammatory responses. Both alcoholic liver disease and HIV infection result in non-specific activation of innate immunity, proinflammatory cytokine cascade upregulation, as well as impaired antigen presenting cell and dendritic cell functions. Finally, alcohol, HIV and antiretroviral therapy affect hepatocyte functions, which contributes to liver damage. The common targets of alcohol and HIV infection in liver disease are discussed in this mini-review.


Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Inflammation; Intestine; Liver

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