Washington: Researchers have claimed to have found the answer to the question as to why binge drinkers' wounds take more time than other' to heal.
Now a new study is providing insights into why alcohol has such a negative effect on wound healing. Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers report that binge alcohol exposure significantly reduced levels of key components of the immune system involved in healing.
The study by senior author Katherine A. Radek, PhD, and colleagues from Loyola's Alcohol Research Program and the Infectious Disease and Immunology Research Institute showed, for the first time, that binge alcohol exposure reduces the amount of white blood cells called macrophages that chew up bacteria and debris. This defect, in part, makes the wound more likely to be infected by bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus .
The study also found that binge alcohol exposure impaired the production of a protein that recruits macrophages to the wound site. (This protein is called macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha, or MIP-1a.)
Binge alcohol also reduced levels of another key component of the immune system known as CRAMP (cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide). CRAMP is a type of small protein present in the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. These small proteins, called antimicrobial peptides, kill bacteria and recruit macrophages and other immune system cells to the wound site.
The study has been published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.