Ethanol suppression of the functional state of polymorphonuclear leukocytes obtained from uninfected and simian immunodeficiency virus infected rhesus macaques

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1999 May;23(5):878-84.


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and alcohol abuse frequently coexist in the host and are known to suppress individually the host response to a variety of opportunistic infections.

Methods: This study examined the effects of in vitro ethanol exposure on several functions of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) that were obtained from uninfected and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques, at the asymptomatic and terminal stages of infection.

Results: The PMNs obtained from rhesus macaques at both the asymptomatic and terminal stage of SIV disease had elevated phagocytic activity and increased CD11b expression compared with PMNs from uninfected animals. In vitro 100 mM ethanol suppressed phagocytosis and CD11b adhesion molecule expression by PMNs, regardless of the stage of SIV infection. Treatment of PMNs with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) attenuated the inhibitory effect seen with prior ethanol exposure.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the functional state of PMNs from uninfected as well as SIV-infected rhesus macaques is impaired by direct exposure to intoxicating concentrations of ethanol and that this effect can be attenuated by G-CSF. If alcohol intoxication similarly suppressed PMN function in vivo, it would further increase susceptibility of these hosts to secondary infections. Furthermore, G-CSF may be useful in overcoming the suppressive effects of ethanol on PMN function in such patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / immunology
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Macaca mulatta / immunology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*


  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Ethanol