Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Riesling for the immune system?

14.05.2020

We all know that excessive consumption of alcohol is bad for our health. Moderate quantities of alcohol, however, can be beneficial to our health in some circumstances. In a paper recently published in Nature, a team of researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) shows that alcohol modifies the immune system in a very specific way and inhibits the development of autoimmune diseases.

The intoxicating effect of alcohol is well researched. A team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Mario Zaiss from the Chair of Internal Medicine 3 at FAU studied one lesser known effect of alcohol, namely how it affects the immune system.


There are several indications in medical literature that alcohol can have a positive effect on impaired immune systems. As early as 1995, scientists reported that liver transplant patients who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol had a significantly lower risk of rejecting the donor liver than those who did not drink at all.

Furthermore, several large epidemiological studies have shown that consuming alcohol on a regular basis can lower the risk of developing both rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Both these conditions are autoimmune diseases where the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s own tissue.

An important factor in this process are special immune cells, called T follicular helper cells, located in the lymph nodes and in inflamed tissue that trigger autoimmune reactions.

How alcohol affects the immune system

During their work, the team were able to demonstrate for the first time how alcohol inhibits excessive immune reactions which lead to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Alcohol is broken down by the body into acetate, which inhibits the function of T follicular helper cells and thus autoimmune diseases.

T follicular helper cells are very sensitive to the presence of acetate as it permanently changes the metabolism of these cells and suppresses the production of the immune messenger substance interleukin 21.

Moderate quantities of alcohol thus do not generally suppress the immune system, rather they have an effect on a very specific type of immune cell that works as a switching point for the acquired immune system. However, Prof. Zaiss points out:

‘The negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption should also always be considered in light of this data, even if the moderate consumption of alcohol can have a beneficial effect on health and can generate a therapeutic immune tolerance effect.’

This effect may be responsible for the clinical observation that rheumatoid arthritis patients who regularly consume alcohol experience significantly fewer inflammatory episodes.

The research was carried out as part of the PANDORA research group and Collaborative Research Centre 181 ‘Switching points for resolving inflammation’ at FAU, that are funded by the German Research Foundation. The researchers involved are members of theGerman Centre for Immunotherapy (DZI) at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Further information
Prof. Dr. Georg Schett
georg.schett@uk-erlangen.de

Dr. Susanne Langer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.fau.de/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New optical biosensor system may help round-the-clock management of gout
12.05.2020 | Texas A&M University

nachricht Protein shredder regulates fat metabolism in the brain
11.05.2020 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Technology innovation for neurology: Brain signal measurement using printed tattoo electrodes

TU Graz researcher Francesco Greco has developed ultra-light tattoo electrodes that are hardly noticeable on the skin and make long-term measurements of brain activity cheaper and easier.

In 2015 Francesco Greco, head of the Laboratory of Applied Materials for Printed and Soft electronics (LAMPSe, http://lampselab.com/) at the Institute of Solid...

Im Focus: Future information technologies: 3D Quantum Spin Liquid revealed

Quantum Spin Liquids are candidates for potential use in future information technologies. So far, Quantum Spin Liquids have usually only been found in one or two dimensional magnetic systems only. Now an international team led by HZB scientists has investigated crystals of PbCuTe2O6 with neutron experiments at ISIS, NIST and ILL. They found spin liquid behaviour in 3D, due to a so called hyper hyperkagome lattice. The experimental data fit extremely well to theoretical simulations also done at HZB.

IT devices today are based on electronic processes in semiconductors. The next real breakthrough could be to exploit other quantum phenomena, for example...

Im Focus: IST Austria scientists demonstrate quantum radar prototype

Physicists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have invented a new radar prototype that utilizes quantum entanglement as a method of object detection. This successful integration of quantum mechanics into our everyday devices could significantly impact the biomedical and security industries. The research is published in the journal Science Advances.

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon where two particles remain inter-connected, sharing physical traits regardless of how far apart they are from one...

Im Focus: First simulation of a full-sized mitochondrial membrane

New algorithm links different scales, bringing simulated cell a step closer

Scientists from the University of Groningen have developed a method that combines different resolution levels in a computer simulation of biological membranes.

Im Focus: How Nano-Sensors Help with Treatment

ESF-funded project "SenseCare” at Chemnitz University of Technology successfully completed - Therapeutic support, especially for diabetes mellitus

In the medical field, flexible and highly sensitive sensors can combine diagnostics and treatment with high comfort for patients.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

13th AKL – International Laser Technology Congress: May 4–6, 2022 in Aachen – Laser Technology Live already this year!

02.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrolysis: Chemists at the University of Halle have discovered how to produce better electrodes

14.05.2020 | Life Sciences

How interstitial ordering affects high-strength steels

14.05.2020 | Machine Engineering

Riesling for the immune system?

14.05.2020 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>