Acute alcohol exposure exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting IkappaB kinase activity and p65 phosphorylation in human monocytes

UMMS Affiliation

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

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Antigens, CD14; CHO Cells; Cricetinae; Cricetulus; Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases; Ethanol; Humans; I-kappa B Kinase; Inflammation; Lipopolysaccharides; Monocytes; NF-kappa B; Phosphorylation; Transcription Factor RelA


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Acute alcohol use is associated with impaired immune responses and decreased proinflammatory cytokine production. Our earlier studies have shown that acute alcohol intake inhibits NF-kappaB DNA binding in an IkappaBalpha-independent manner. We report using human peripheral blood monocytes and Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with CD14 cells that acute alcohol treatment in vitro exerts NF-kappaB inhibition by disrupting phosphorylation of p65. Immunoprecipitation of p65 and IkappaBalpha revealed that acute alcohol exposure for 1 h decreased NF-kappaB-IkappaBalpha complexes in the cytoplasm. Phosphorylation of p65 at Ser(536) is mediated by IkappaB kinase (IKK)beta and is required for NF-kappaB-dependent cellular responses. We show that acute alcohol treatment decreased LPS-induced IKKalpha and IKKbeta activity resulting in decreased phosphorylation of p65 at Ser(536). Furthermore, nuclear expression of IKKalpha increased after alcohol treatment, which may contribute to inhibition of NF-kappaB. Decreased phosphorylation of nuclear p65 at Ser(276) was likely not due to alcohol-induced inhibition of protein kinase A and mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase-1 activity. Although decreased IkappaBalpha phosphorylation after acute alcohol treatment was attributable to reduced IKKbeta activity, degradation of IkappaBalpha during alcohol exposure was IKKbeta-independent. Alcohol-induced degradation of IkappaBalpha in the presence of a 26S proteasome inhibitor suggested proteasome-independent IkappaBalpha degradation. Collectively, our studies suggest that acute alcohol exposure modulates IkappaBalpha-independent NF-kappaB activity primarily by affecting phosphorylation of p65. These findings further implicate an important role for IKKbeta in the acute effects of alcohol in immune cells.

DOI of Published Version



J Immunol. 2007 Jun 15;178(12):7686-93.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

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