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J Leukoc Biol. 2008 Sep;84(3):607-13. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1107766. Epub 2008 Mar 24.

Organ-specific inflammation following acute ethanol and burn injury.

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Department of Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


Clinical and experimental evidence demonstrates that ethanol exposure prior to injury alters local and systemic inflammatory responses, increasing morbidity and mortality. Moreover, the aberrant inflammatory responses can directly and indirectly lead to the poor prognosis after injury by altering leukocyte infiltration into the wound site and remote organs and by suppressing immunity leading to increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections. Recent studies from our laboratory have focused on inflammatory responses at the wound site and in other distal organs after exposure to acute ethanol and burn injury. This combined insult leads to increased mortality after dermal or intratracheal pseudomonas infection, relative to infected mice given ethanol or burn injury alone. The increased mortality in mice given ethanol and burn injury parallels elevated serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, marked infiltration of leukocytes into the lung and gut, as well as immunosuppression at the sites of infection. Bacterial translocation from the gut is likely to be responsible, in part, for the aberrant accumulation of leukocytes in the lungs of ethanol-exposed, burn-injured mice. Additionally, other factors, such as expression of adhesion molecules, increased chemokine production, and leakiness of the vascular endothelium, may also be involved.

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