Michael J Duryee, Lynell W Klassen, Geoffrey M Thiele
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The development of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) can be attributed to many factors that cause damage to the liver and alter its functions. Data collected over the last 30 years strongly suggests that an immune component may be involved in the onset of this disease. This is best evidenced by the detection of circulating autoantibodies, infiltration of immune cells in the liver, and the detection of hepatic aldehyde modified proteins in patients with ALD. Experimentally, there are numerous immune responses that occur when proteins are modified with the metabolites of ethanol. These products are formed in response to the high oxidative state of the liver during ethanol metabolism, causing the release of many inflammatory processes and potential of necrosis or apoptosis of liver cells. Should cellular proteins become modified with these reactive alcohol metabolites and be recognized by the immune system, then immune responses may be initiated. Therefore, it was the purpose of this article to shed some insight into how the immune system is involved in the development and/or progression of ALD.
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