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Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2008 Jan;1(1):56-67.

Alcohol abuse, immunosuppression, and pulmonary infection.

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Department of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary/CCM, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, LA 70112, USA.


Excessive alcohol consumption predisposes the host to a wide range of infectious complications, particularly pulmonary infections. Factors that contribute to the development of pulmonary infections in alcohol-abusing patients include dysfunction of the protective barriers in the respiratory tract, aspiration of oropharyngeal contents, nutritional deficiencies, liver disease, and impairment of host defense mechanisms. This review discusses the complex host-pathogen interactions in the airways with an emphasis on how alcohol consumption adversely affects these mechanisms and predisposes the host to infections. Potential immunomodulatory strategies for enhancing host defense function in alcohol-consuming patients are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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