Alcohol suppresses the granulopoietic response to pulmonary Streptococcus pneumoniae infection with enhancement of STAT3 signaling

J Immunol. 2011 Apr 1;186(7):4306-13. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002885. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


Enhanced granulopoietic activity is crucial for host defense against bacterial pneumonia. Alcohol impairs this response. The underlying mechanisms remain obscure. G-CSF produced by infected lung tissue plays a key role in stimulating bone marrow granulopoiesis. This study investigated the effects of alcohol on G-CSF signaling in the regulation of marrow myeloid progenitor cell proliferation in mice with Streptococcus pneumoniae pneumonia. Chronic alcohol consumption plus acute alcohol intoxication suppressed the increase in blood granulocyte counts following intrapulmonary challenge with S. pneumoniae. This suppression was associated with a significant decrease in bone marrow granulopoietic progenitor cell proliferation. Alcohol treatment significantly enhanced STAT3 phosphorylation in bone marrow cells of animals challenged with S. pneumoniae. In vitro experiments showed that G-CSF-induced activation of STAT3-p27(Kip1) pathway in murine myeloid progenitor cell line 32D-G-CSFR cells was markedly enhanced by alcohol exposure. Alcohol dose dependently inhibited G-CSF-stimulated 32D-G-CSFR cell proliferation. This impairment of myeloid progenitor cell proliferation was not attenuated by inhibition of alcohol metabolism through either the alcohol dehydrogenase pathway or the cytochrome P450 system. These data suggest that alcohol enhances G-CSF-associated STAT3-p27(Kip1) signaling, which impairs granulopoietic progenitor cell proliferation by inducing cell cycling arrest and facilitating their terminal differentiation during the granulopoietic response to pulmonary infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / microbiology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27 / physiology
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation / immunology*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor / physiology*
  • Granulocytes / immunology*
  • Granulocytes / microbiology
  • Granulocytes / pathology
  • Hematopoiesis / drug effects
  • Hematopoiesis / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / immunology*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / pathology
  • Random Allocation
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / immunology*


  • Cdkn1b protein, mouse
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Stat3 protein, mouse
  • Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p27
  • Ethanol