Mechanisms of alcohol-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress and organ injuries

Biochem Res Int. 2012;2012:216450. doi: 10.1155/2012/216450. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Abstract

Alcohol is readily distributed throughout the body in the blood stream and crosses biological membranes, which affect virtually all biological processes inside the cell. Excessive alcohol consumption induces numerous pathological stress responses, part of which is endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. ER stress, a condition under which unfolded/misfolded protein accumulates in the ER, contributes to alcoholic disorders of major organs such as liver, pancreas, heart, and brain. Potential mechanisms that trigger the alcoholic ER stress response are directly or indirectly related to alcohol metabolism, which includes toxic acetaldehyde and homocysteine, oxidative stress, perturbations of calcium or iron homeostasis, alterations of S-adenosylmethionine to S-adenosylhomocysteine ratio, and abnormal epigenetic modifications. Interruption of the ER stress triggers is anticipated to have therapeutic benefits for alcoholic disorders.