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J Infect Dis. 1993 Apr;167(4):789-97.

Alcohol intake increases human immunodeficiency virus type 1 replication in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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  • 1Dorrance H. Hamilton Laboratories, Department of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


The effects of alcohol consumption on various T lymphocyte subset functions and on the degree of susceptibility of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection and replication in vitro were investigated. PBMC from 60 HIV-1-seronegative healthy volunteers were studied before and after ingestion of alcohol beverages. After alcohol consumption, there was significantly increased HIV-1 replication (P < .001) in PBMC, as determined by HIV-1 p24 antigen levels in the culture supernatants, than in cultures obtained before alcohol ingestion. There was a decreased ability of lymphocytes, obtained after alcohol consumption, to produce interleukin-2 and soluble immune response suppressor activity after stimulation with concanavalin A. The data show that alcohol ingestion increases HIV-1 replication in human PBMC infected with HIV-1 in cell culture. This may be due to alcohol-induced functional impairment of various subsets of lymphocytes in the peripheral blood. Thus, HIV-1 replication may be augmented by alcohol in HIV-1-infected individuals, and alcohol intake may increase an individual's risk for acquiring HIV-1 infection.

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