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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1994 Jun;18(3):602-7.

Suppression of tumor necrosis factor production by alcohol in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated culture.

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Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo 14203.


Many studies have shown that alcohol consumption is associated with alteration in immune responses and increased incidence of infection in the host. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a potent soluble mediator of immunoregulation and inflammation, and plays a very important role in host's defenses against infection and tumor. We propose that one of the mechanisms of alcohol-mediated immunosuppression may be due to a defect in the synthesis and release of the TNF. To determine this, we studied the direct effect of alcohol on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced TNF production by whole blood and total mononuclear cell from normal subjects. Aliquots of blood samples (1 ml) or ficoll-hypaque separated total mononuclear cells (1 x 10(6)/ml) were cultured with different concentrations of either ethanol or acetaldehyde in the presence or absence of LPS for 4 hr at 37 degrees C. Plasma samples and culture supernatants were assayed for TNF levels in a bioassay using a TNF-sensitive WEHI 164 subclone 13 cell line. LPS at 10 micrograms/ml produced a maximal level of TNF compared with lower (1 micrograms/ml) or higher concentration (50 micrograms/ml) of LPS. Kinetics studies showed that an incubation time of 4 hr with LPS produced a maximum level of TNF production by blood. Alcohol, as low as 0.1% concentration, produced significant suppression of LPS-induced TNF production by whole blood, whereas alcohol at 0.2 and 0.3% concentrations were required to produce a significant suppression of TNF production by separated mononuclear cells. Anti-TNF-alpha antibodies significantly neutralized the LPS-induced TNF that suggests that blood monocytes may be the primary source of TNF production.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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