Alcohol damages the immune system, modifying its behavior and response to stimuli. These are the results of a recent research by Mark Hutchinson and his group at the Adelaide University, published on the British Journal of Pharmacology.
The research project focused on the Toll-like receptors, a family of proteins in the brain that is crucial for the immune response mechanisms. The scientists compared two populations of mice: a group that received drugs able to inactivate the toll receptors and a group of transgenic mice where the toll receptors where knocked out.
Some alcohol was then administrated to both the populations; none of the two populations was sensitive to it
On the basis of these results, scientists think that alcohol affects the immune cells of the brain. Then, who takes alcohol, besides the well-known neurologic limitations (such as in speech or movements), get also damages to the immune system.
Most importantly, Hutchinson thinks than by working on the toll-like receptors it would be possible to find therapies in the most serious cases of alcohol addiction. “Drugs acting on the toll receptors could be very helpful in the treatment of alcohol addictions or in acute overdoses”.