Inhibition of myeloid dendritic cell accessory cell function and induction of T cell anergy by alcohol correlates with decreased IL-12 production

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Rheumatology Division; Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Alcohol Drinking; Antigen Presentation; Antigen-Presenting Cells; Cell Differentiation; Clonal Anergy; Dendritic Cells; Female; Humans; Interleukin-12; Isoantigens; Male; Middle Aged; T-Lymphocytes


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Alcohol consumption inhibits accessory cell function and Ag-specific T cell responses. Myeloid dendritic cells (DCs) coordinate innate immune responses and T cell activation. In this report, we found that in vivo moderate alcohol intake (0.8 g/kg of body weight) in normal volunteers inhibited DC allostimulatory capacity. Furthermore, in vitro alcohol treatment during DC differentiation significantly reduced allostimulatory activity in a MLR using naive CD4(+) T cells, and inhibited tetanus toxoid Ag presentation by DCs. Alcohol-treated DCs showed reduced IL-12, increased IL-10 production, and a decrease in expression of the costimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86. Addition of exogenous IL-12 and IL-2, but not neutralization of IL-10, during MLR ameliorated the reduced allostimulatory capacity of alcohol-treated DCs. Naive CD4(+) T cells primed with alcohol-treated DCs showed decreased IFN-gamma production that was restored by exogenous IL-12, indicating inhibition of Th1 responses. Furthermore, CD4(+) T cells primed with alcohol-treated DCs were hyporesponsive to subsequent stimulation with the same donor-derived normal DCs, suggesting the ability of alcohol-treated DCs to induce T cell anergy. LPS-induced maturation of alcohol-treated immature DCs partially restored the reduced allostimulatory activity, whereas alcohol given only during DC maturation failed to inhibit DC functions, suggesting that alcohol primarily impairs DC differentiation rather than maturation. NFkappaB activation, a marker of DC maturation was not affected by alcohol. Taken together, alcohol both in vitro and in vivo can impair generation of Th1 immune responses via inhibition of DC differentiation and accessory cell function through mechanisms that involve decreased IL-12 induction.

DOI of Published Version



J Immunol. 2004 Sep 1;173(5):3398-407.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID