Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Disrupted Protein Balance and Impaired Cardiomyocyte Contractility

Jennifer L. Steiner, Charles H. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) can develop after consumption of relatively large amounts of alcohol over time or from acute binge drinking. Of the many factors implicated in the etiology of ACM, chronic perturbation in protein balance has been strongly implicated. This review focused on recent contributions (since 2010) in the area of protein metabolism and cardiac function related to ACM. Data reviewed include that from in vitro and preclinical in vivo animal studies where alcohol or an oxidative metabolite was studied and outcome measures in either cardiomyocytes or whole heart pertaining to protein synthesis or degradation were reported. Additionally, studies on the contractile properties of cardiomyocytes were also included to link signal transduction with function. Methodological differences including the potential impact of sex, dosing, and duration/timing of alcohol administration are addressed. Acute and chronic alcohol consumption decreases cardiac protein synthesis and/or activation of proteins within the regulatory mammalian/mechanistic target of rapamycin complex pathway. Albeit limited, evidence suggests that myocardial protein degradation via the ubiquitin pathway is not altered, while autophagy may be enhanced in ACM. Alcohol impairs ex vivo cardiomyocyte contractility in relation to its metabolism and expression of proteins within the growth factor pathway. Dysregulation of protein metabolism, including the rate of protein synthesis and autophagy, may contribute to contractile deficits and is a hallmark feature of ACM meriting additional sex-inclusive, methodologically consistent studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1401
Number of pages10
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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