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Alcohol Health Res World. 1997;21(1):5-12.

Exploring alcohol's effects on liver function.

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University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


A large proportion of heavy drinkers develop serious alcoholic liver disease. Susceptibility to alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis appears to be influenced by heredity, gender, diet, and co-occurring liver illness. Most alcoholic liver damage is attributed to alcohol metabolism. Liver injury may be caused by direct toxicity of metabolic by-products of alcohol as well as by inflammation induced by these by-products. Exposure of liver cells to bacterial toxins may contribute to liver disease. Escalating liver injury can lead to fibrosis and, ultimately, to cirrhosis. Increased understanding of the mechanisms of liver injury has led to innovative treatments for alcoholic liver disease, including the use of corticosteroids, antioxidants, antibiotics, and certain polyunsaturated fats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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