Immunology of alcoholic liver disease

Clin Liver Dis. 2005 Feb;9(1):55-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2004.11.002.


Alcohol-induced liver injury is a reflection of the immunologic response of the liver to this stimulus. Reported studies of immunologic abnormalities in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) patients suggest that immunologic response plays a key role in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease in alcoholics, and have contributed to the understanding of how some patients with ALD progress into alcoholic liver cirrhosis. The immunologic response of the liver is reflected in alcoholic fatty liver disease, hyaline necrosis, and cirrhosis, promoted by the role of neutrophils in damaging liver cells through cytotoxicity, and lymphocytes through cytotoxicity, inducing fibrogenesis of the liver and formation of immune complexes responsible for immune complex-mediated cytotoxicity, in addition to the role of different chemokines in attracting leucocytes, inducing fibrogenesis and liver cell apoptosis, with the established mechanism by which Mallory bodies evoke both cellular and humoral immunity contributing to the process of alcoholic liver cirrhosis, which plays a key role in transformation of alcoholic hepatitis to cirrhosis. At present, research is underway to find modalities to correct the induced immunologic changes, so at this time, it is necessary to avoid alcoholism, with the use of social and educational programs to stop alcoholism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemokines / immunology
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / immunology
  • Fatty Liver, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology*
  • Immunity, Cellular / physiology
  • Interleukins / immunology*
  • Kupffer Cells / immunology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / immunology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / immunology*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / pathology*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Chemokines
  • Interleukins