Excessive alcohol consumption predisposes the host to a wide range of infectious complications, particularly pulmonary infections. Factors that contribute to the development of pulmonary infections in alcohol-abusing patients include dysfunction of the protective barriers in the respiratory tract, aspiration of oropharyngeal contents, nutritional deficiencies, liver disease, and impairment of host defense mechanisms. This review discusses the complex host-pathogen interactions in the airways with an emphasis on how alcohol consumption adversely affects these mechanisms and predisposes the host to infections. Potential immunomodulatory strategies for enhancing host defense function in alcoholconsuming patients are also discussed.
Keywords: Alcohol abuse, lung, infection, pneumonia, immunity, host defense
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