BACKGROUND: Frequent binge drinking is a known contributor to alcohol-related harm, but its impact on systemic and hepatic inflammation is not fully understood. We hypothesize that changes in immune markers play a central role in adverse effects of acute alcohol intake, especially in patients with early liver disease.
AIM: To investigate the effects of acute alcohol intoxication on inflammation-related markers in hepatic and systemic venous plasma in people with alcohol-related liver disease (ArLD), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and healthy controls.
METHODS: Thirty-eight participants (13 with ArLD, 15 with NAFLD and 10 healthy controls) received 2.5 mL of 40% ethanol per kg body weight via a nasogastric tube. Seventy-two inflammation-related markers were quantified in plasma from hepatic and systemic venous blood, at baseline, 60 and 180 min after intervention.
RESULTS: Alcohol intervention altered the levels of 31 of 72 and 14 of 72 markers in the systemic and hepatic circulation. All changes observed in the hepatic circulation were also identified in the systemic circulation after 180 min. Only FGF21 and IL6 were increased after alcohol intervention, while the remaining 29 markers decreased. Differences in response to acute alcohol between the groups were observed for 8 markers, and FGF21 response was blunted in individuals with steatosis.
CONCLUSION: Acute alcohol intoxication induced changes in multiple inflammation-related markers, implicated in alcohol metabolism and hepatocellular damage. Differences identified between marker response to binge drinking in ArLD, NAFLD and healthy controls may provide important clues to disease mechanisms and potential targets for treatment.
CLINICAL TRIAL NUMBER: NCT03018990.