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Recent advances in alcoholic liver disease. IV. Dysregulated cytokine metabolism in alcoholic liver disease.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Louisville Medical Center, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, USA.


Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) remains a leading cause of death from liver disease in the United States for which there is no FDA-approved therapy. Abnormal cytokine metabolism is a major feature of ALD. Elevated serum concentration levels of TNF-alpha and TNF-alpha-inducible cytokines/chemokines, such as IL-6, -8, and -18, have been reported in patients with alcoholic hepatitis and/or cirrhosis, and levels correlated with markers of the acute phase response, liver function, and clinical outcome. Studies in animal models support an etiologic role for cytokines in the liver injury of ALD. Cytokines, such as transforming growth factor-beta, play a critical role in the fibrosis of ALD. Multiple new strategies are under investigation to modulate cytokine metabolism as a form of therapy for ALD.

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