Circulating cytokines as biomarkers of alcohol abuse and alcoholism

Rajeshwara N. Achur, Willard M. Freeman, Kent E. Vrana

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


There are currently no consistent objective biochemical markers of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Development of reliable diagnostic biomarkers that permit accurate assessment of alcohol intake and patterns of drinking is of prime importance to treatment and research fields. Diagnostic biomarker development in other diseases has demonstrated the utility of both open, systems biology, screening for biomarkers and more rational focused efforts on specific biomolecules or families of biomolecules. Long-term alcohol consumption leads to altered inflammatory cell and adaptive immune responses with associated pathologies and increased incidence of infections. This has led researchers to focus attention on identifying cytokine biomarkers in models of alcohol abuse. Alcohol is known to alter cytokine levels in plasma and a variety of tissues including lung, liver, and very importantly brain. A number of cytokine biomarker candidates have been identified, including: tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1-alpha, IL-1-beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. This is an emerging and potentially exciting avenue of research in that circulating cytokines may contribute to diagnostic biomarker panels, and a combination of multiple biomarkers may significantly increase the sensitivity and specificity of the biochemical tests aiding reliable and accurate detection of excessive alcohol intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Circulating cytokines as biomarkers of alcohol abuse and alcoholism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this