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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Effects of Chronic Ethanol Consumption in Experimental Sepsis

To evaluate the effects of chronic ethanol consumption on the development and the pathophysiology of sepsis, using an experimental model of polymicrobial peritonitis by feces i.p. injection.

Forty-day-old male Wistar rats were divided into groups for two experiments: A and B. Experiment A was performed for determination of mortality rates, while experiment B was designed for biochemical analysis and measurement of cytokines before and after sepsis. In both the experiments, treated animals were exposed to a 10% ethanol solution as the single drinking source for 4 weeks, while untreated animals were exposed to tap water over the same period. Food was provided ad libitum. After this period, the animals underwent i.p. fecal injection for induction of sepsis.

Experiment A showed that higher doses of ethanol resulted in early mortality from sepsis that was correlated with the alcohol consumption (high dose = 85.7%, low dose = 14.3%, P = 0.027). In experiment B, cytokine analysis demonstrated important changes resulting from sepsis, which were further affected by ethanol exposure. In addition, glucose and creatinine levels decreased and increased, respectively, after sepsis, but a significant change occurred only in the ethanol group (P < 0.003 glucose, P < 0.01 creatinine). The levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α, increased after sepsis, but were less evident after ethanol exposure.

These differences may be the result of either early mortality or an increase in the severity of the septic process. Taking into account the high mortality rate and the extreme severity of sepsis after alcohol consumption, often encouraged by advertising, a caution should be given to patients with severe infections and a history of alcohol abuse.

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