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Biochem Pharmacol. 1996 Sep 27;52(6):891-9.

Effect of chronic alcohol consumption by rats on tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 clearance in vivo and by the isolated, perfused liver.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112-1393, USA.


The effects of chronic (16-week) alcohol consumption by rats on [125I] tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and [125I]interleukin (IL)-6 plasma clearance and organ distribution in vivo and uptake and metabolism by the isolated, perfused liver were studied. Alcohol was administered to rats in a liquid diet for 16 weeks, and caused a decreased (48%) plasma clearance rate of IL-6 and converted the plasma clearance kinetics of the cytokine from a biphasic exponential in normal rats to a monophasic exponential decay. Alcohol feeding significantly increased (101%) plasma clearance of TNF-alpha, which followed a biphasic exponential decay and decreased the T1/2 for both the alpha (67%) and beta (76%) elimination components. The distribution of both cytokines in trichloroacetic acid precipitable and non-precipitable fractions of liver, spleen, stomach, small intestine (ileum), lung, kidney, and blood was also studied. The only effect of alcohol treatment was a significant decrease in IL-6 uptake and metabolism by the small intestine. Perfused livers, isolated from alcohol-fed rats, took up and metabolized larger amounts of IL-6 than did livers isolated from pair-fed rats. TNF-alpha uptake and metabolism by the isolated, perfused liver were not affected by chronic alcohol consumption. Regardless of the animal treatment, the isolated perfused liver took up and metabolized significantly larger (17-fold) amounts of TNF-alpha than IL-6, in spite of identical concentrations of cytokines (6 nM) in the perfusion medium. The data presented in this study along with our previous results demonstrating the effects of alcohol consumption on TNF-alpha and IL-6 receptors on various liver cells suggest that the effects of chronic alcohol treatment on cytokine clearance cannot be ascribed to changes in the receptors for the two cytokines. Also, no correlation was found between the effects of alcohol treatment on plasma cytokine clearance and uptake and metabolism of cytokines by the isolated, perfused liver. Experimental data and theoretical considerations suggest that cytokine receptor recycling may play an important role in mediating alcohol effects on cytokine clearance.

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