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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1980 Apr;4(2):199-206.

Altered immunity in male patients with alcoholic liver disease: evidence for defective immune regulation.


We sought evidence for altered immunity in patients with alcoholic liver disease, and we correlated the observed immunologic abnormalities with the extent of histologically proven liver disease. Total circulating lymphocytes and the absolute number of T lymphocytes were decreased in alcoholics (p less than 0.01) compared to controls. Immunoglobulins G and A were elevated significantly (p less than 0.05) in alcoholic patients with hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis compared to controls and alcoholics without liver histopathology. In alcoholics with fibrosis or cirrhosis at time of admission, IgE levels were also elevated (p less than 0.01) but decreased 50% during hospitalization. Forty-eight percent of the patients with alcoholic liver disease had antibodies to small bowel epithelium, and 33% had antibodies to fibroblast cytoplasm. In addition, we found that alcoholics immunized with polyvalent pneumococcal polysaccharide responded with significantly elevated (p less than 0.025) antibody titers compared to hospitalized controls. In aggregate, these findings in patients with alcoholic liver disease are consistent with a defect in immune regulation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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