Alcohol, liver, systemic inflammation and skin: a focus on patients with psoriasis

Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(3):119-26. doi: 10.1159/000348865. Epub 2013 Mar 21.


Emerging evidence suggests that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with psoriasis. In alcoholics, antipsoriatic treatments are less efficient, but more toxic and an additional challenge is poor therapeutic compliance. There is a correlation between excess alcohol intake and increased risk of infections, but on the other hand alcohol and its metabolites can trigger a persistent systemic inflammation, mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines released from activated Kupffer cells in the liver and from monocytes in the circulation. Ethanol and its metabolites can also enhance lymphocyte and keratinocyte activation and proliferation and can increase the mRNA levels of genes characteristic for proliferating keratinocytes. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms by which alcohol contributes to psoriasis development focusing on liver, systemic inflammation and skin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Ethanol / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / metabolism*
  • Skin / metabolism


  • Ethanol