Booze hits body’s ability to ward off viral infections

Alcohol changes the anti-viral and inflammatory functions of monocytes.

“Alcohol has a profound effect of inhibiting IFN production in monocytes regardless of whether the danger signal is intracellular (TLR8) or surface-derived (TLR4). Such a reduction would impair the body’s ability to fight off infection,” Prof Szabo said

“Additionally, the fact that Type I IFN production is depressed despite increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNFa, due to chronic alcohol exposure suggests that prolonged alcohol must change the immune balance of monocyte activation and impair host response to single-stranded virus infection like hepatitis C,” he added.

The findings of the research have been published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Immunology.