Mechanisms Involved in Disruption of Adipose Tissue Mass Resulting from Chronic Unhealthy Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2016 Nov;40(11):2296-2298. doi: 10.1111/acer.13219. Epub 2016 Sep 26.


Chronic heavy alcohol consumption leads to loss in adipose tissue mass. The mechanisms involved are not fully known and most of our understanding has been derived from animal studies. The study by Crowell et al. (2016) investigated the impact of chronic alcohol feeding on white adipose tissue (WAT) protein synthesis. Their detailed analysis of the signaling mechanisms that regulate protein synthesis reveals tissue-specific alterations resulting from chronic alcohol feeding. The focus on protein synthesis as a possible mechanism of loss of WAT following chronic alcohol feeding is interesting. But the study provides additional insight into what could possibly be a more relevant mechanism for loss of adipose mass in chronic alcohol-consuming animals and humans; that is, the delicate balance between lipolysis and lipogenesis and the potential contribution of alcohol-mediated inflammation to their disruption. Their study highlights the importance of continued research on the metabolic alterations resulting from chronic alcohol consumption and the potential impact of those metabolic alterations on development of comorbid conditions, from obesity to lipodystrophy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Ethanol*
  • Humans


  • Ethanol