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Intern Med. 2003 Aug;42(8):644-9.

Alcohol consumption, hepatic iron load and the risk of amoebic liver abscess: a case-control study.

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1
Department of Medicine, Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, India.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

It is unknown why most amoebic liver abscess (ALA) cases occur in alcohol drinkers. In experimental studies, the presence of 'iron' potentiates the in-vitro growth of Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica), and is also known to increase its in-vivo invasiveness in animal infections. Chronic alcoholism increases the hepatic iron deposition. We hypothesized that ALA occurs more commonly in livers with a high iron load as in alcoholics. To test this hypothesis we compared the levels of iron between ALA and non-ALA cases belonging to alcoholic and non-alcoholic groups.

METHODS:

Out of a total of 48 ALA cases, 34 (70%) were alcoholics and 14 (30%) were non-alcoholics. After applying exclusion criteria, serum iron and liver iron stores were quantified in 20 ALA cases (10 alcoholic and 10 non-alcoholics) and compared with 20 non-ALA cases (10 alcoholics and 10 non-alcoholics).

RESULTS:

All patients of ALA had serum iron values within the normal range but higher than non-ALA cases. In the liver tissue, most patients with ALA had higher (grade II or III) iron deposition, than non-ALA cases (mostly grade I). Thus, patients with ALA, with or without alcohol indulgence, had higher iron levels when compared to the non-ALA cases.

CONCLUSION:

It appears that the higher incidence of ALA in alcoholic livers is possibly due to their higher iron content.

PMID:
12924485
DOI:
10.2169/internalmedicine.42.644
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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