Alcohol abuse and disorder of granulopoiesis.

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Granulocytes are the major type of phagocytes constituting the front line of innate immune defense against bacterial infection. In adults, granulocytes are derived from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. Alcohol is the most frequently abused substance in human society. Excessive alcohol consumption injures hematopoietic tissue, impairing bone marrow production of granulocytes through disrupting homeostasis of granulopoiesis and the granulopoietic response. Because of the compromised immune defense function, alcohol abusers are susceptible to infectious diseases, particularly septic infection. Alcoholic patients with septic infection and granulocytopenia have an exceedingly high mortality rate. Treatment of serious infection in alcoholic patients with bone marrow inhibition continues to be a major challenge. Excessive alcohol consumption also causes diseases in other organ systems, particularly severe alcoholic hepatitis which is life threatening. Corticosteroids are the only therapeutic option for improving short-term survival in patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis. The existence of advanced alcoholic liver diseases and administration of corticosteroids make it more difficult to treat serious infection in alcoholic patients with the disorder of granulopoieis. This article reviews the recent development in understanding alcohol-induced disruption of marrow granulopoiesis and the granulopoietic response with the focus on progress in delineating cell signaling mechanisms underlying the alcohol-induced injury to hematopoietic tissue. Efforts in exploring effective therapy to improve patient care in this field will also be discussed.





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Shi, Xin, Angelo L DeLucia, Jianxin Bao and Ping Zhang (2019). Alcohol abuse and disorder of granulopoiesis. Pharmacology & therapeutics, 198. pp. 206–219. 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2019.03.001 Retrieved from

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Jianxin Bao

Professor in Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences

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