University of Oulu

Niemelä O, Halkola AS, Bloigu A, Bloigu R, Nivukoski U, Pohjasniemi H, Kultti J. Blood Cell Responses Following Heavy Alcohol Consumption Coincide with Changes in Acute Phase Reactants of Inflammation, Indices of Hemolysis and Immune Responses to Ethanol Metabolites. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2022; 23(21):12738.

Blood cell responses following heavy alcohol consumption coincide with changes in acute phase reactants of inflammation, indices of hemolysis and immune responses to ethanol metabolites

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Author: Niemelä, Onni1,2; Halkola, Anni S.1; Bloigu, Aini3;
Organizations: 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Research Unit, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Hanneksenrinne 7, 60220 Seinäjoki, Finland
2Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, 33520 Tampere, Finland
3Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, 90220 Oulu, Finland
4Infrastructure of Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, 90220 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-07-07


Aberrations in blood cells are common among heavy alcohol drinkers. In order to shed further light on such responses, we compared blood cell status with markers of hemolysis, mediators of inflammation and immune responses to ethanol metabolites in alcohol-dependent patients at the time of admission for detoxification and after abstinence. Blood cell counts, indices of hemolysis (LDH, haptoglobin, bilirubin), calprotectin (a marker of neutrophil activation), suPAR, CD163, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and autoantibodies against protein adducts with acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of ethanol, were measured from alcohol-dependent patients (73 men, 26 women, mean age 43.8 ± 10.4 years) at baseline and after 8 ± 1 days of abstinence. The assessments also included information on the quantities of alcohol drinking and assays for biomarkers of alcohol consumption (CDT), liver function (AST, ALT, ALP, GGT) and acute phase reactants of inflammation. At baseline, the patients showed elevated values of CDT and biomarkers of liver status, which decreased significantly during abstinence. A significant decrease also occurred in LDH, bilirubin, CD163 and IgA and IgM antibodies against acetaldehyde adducts, whereas a significant increase was noted in blood leukocytes, platelets, MCV and suPAR levels. The changes in blood leukocytes correlated with those in serum calprotectin (p < 0.001), haptoglobin (p < 0.001), IL-6 (p < 0.02) and suPAR (p < 0.02). The changes in MCV correlated with those in LDH (p < 0.02), MCH (p < 0.01), bilirubin (p < 0.001) and anti-adduct IgG (p < 0.01). The data indicates that ethanol-induced changes in blood leukocytes are related with acute phase reactants of inflammation and release of neutrophil calprotectin. The studies also highlight the role of hemolysis and immune responses to ethanol metabolites underlying erythrocyte abnormalities in alcohol abusers.

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Series: International journal of molecular sciences
ISSN: 1661-6596
ISSN-E: 1422-0067
ISSN-L: 1661-6596
Volume: 23
Issue: 21
Article number: 12738
DOI: 10.3390/ijms232112738
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
Funding: This work was supported in part by the Competitive State Research Financing of the Expert Responsibility area of Seinäjoki Central Hospital and University of Tampere, VTR 6100/3243, the Finnish Foundation for the Promotion of Laboratory Medicine and the Finnish Society of Clinical Chemistry.
Copyright information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (