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, 62 (3), 201-207

Binge Drinking Impairs Vascular Function in Young Adults


Binge Drinking Impairs Vascular Function in Young Adults

Melissa Goslawski et al. J Am Coll Cardiol.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess whether young binge drinkers (BD) have impaired macrovascular and microvascular function and cardiovascular disease risk factors compared with age-matched alcohol abstainers (A).

Background: Binge drinking rates are highest on college campuses and among those age 18 to 25 years; however, macrovascular and microvascular endothelial function in young adults with histories of repeated binge drinking (≥ 5 standard drinks in 2 h in men, ≥ 4 standard drinks in 2 h in women) has not been investigated.

Methods: Cardiovascular profiles, brachial artery endothelial-dependent flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and flow-independent nitroglycerin (NTG)-mediated dilation and vasoreactivity of resistance arteries (isolated from gluteal fat biopsies) were evaluated in A and BD.

Results: Men and women (18 to 25 years of age; A, n = 17; BD, n = 19) were enrolled. In the BD group, past-month mean number of binge episodes was 6 ± 1, and the mean duration of binge drinking behavior was 4 ± 0.6 years. FMD and NTG-mediated dilation were significantly lower in the BD group (FMD: 8.4 ± 0.7%, p = 0.022; NTG-mediated dilation: 19.6 ± 2%, p = 0.009) than in the A group (FMD: 11 ± 0.7%; NTG-mediated dilation: 28.6 ± 2%). Acetylcholine-induced and sodium nitroprusside-induced dilation in resistance arteries was not significantly different between the A and BD groups. However, endothelin-1-induced constriction was significantly enhanced in the BD group compared with the A group (p = 0.032). No differences between groups were found in blood pressure, lipoproteins, and C-reactive protein.

Conclusions: Alterations in the macrocirculation and microcirculation may represent early clinical manifestations of cardiovascular risk in otherwise healthy young BD. This study has important clinical implications for screening young adults for a repeated history of binge drinking.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Values are mean ±SEM
Brachial FMD (A) and NTG-induced dilations (B) were significantly lower in the BD group compared to the A group (P = 0.022 and P = 0.009, respectively).
Figure 2
Figure 2. ACh-induced dilation in resistance arteries were similar between the A group (n = 11) and BD group (n = 10) (P = .365)
L-NAME significantly blocked ACh-induced dilation in the A group (P = 0.007) but not in the BD group (P = 0.155). Values are mean ±SEM. *Denotes significance P ≤ 0.008 between ACh-induced dilation and ACh + L NAMEinduced dilation in A group.
Figure 3
Figure 3. SNP-induced dilation was similar between the A (n = 5) and BD (n = 6) groups (P = 0.948)
Values are mean ±SEM.
Figure 4
Figure 4. ET-1-induced constriction was significantly greater in the BD group (n = 10) compared to the A group (n = 10) (P = 0.002)
Values are mean ±SEM. *Denotes significant difference P ≤ 0.01.

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