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1.  Alcohol Use Disorders Affect Antimicrobial Proteins and Anti-pneumococcal Activity in Epithelial Lining Fluid Obtained via Bronchoalveolar Lavage 
Aims: Our overall objective was to examine whether characteristics of epithelial lining fluid (ELF) from subjects with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) obtained via bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) contribute to their predisposition to pneumococcal pneumonia. We sought to compare the anti-pneumococcal activity of acellular human BAL from subjects with AUDs to matched controls. Further, differences in BAL lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations between these two groups were examined to determine the effect of AUDs on these antimicrobial proteins. Methods: BAL was performed in subjects with AUDs and matched controls. Acellular BAL was used at varying concentrations in an in vitro killing assay of Streptococcus pneumoniae, type 2, and the percent kill of organisms per microgram per milliliter total BAL protein was ascertained. Lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations were measured in BAL from subjects and controls at measured concentrations of BAL protein. Results: AUD subjects (n = 15) and controls (n = 10) were enrolled in these investigations who were balanced in terms of smoking history. Using a mixed effect model, across the range of BAL protein concentrations, killing of pneumococcus tended to be less potent with BAL fluid from AUD subjects. Additionally, lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations were significantly lower in the AUD group. Conclusions: The predisposition for pneumococcal pneumonia among those with AUDs may be in part mediated through effects of alcohol on substances within ELF that include antimicrobial proteins. Clarifying the composition and activity of ELF antimicrobial proteins in the setting of AUDs via investigations with human BAL fluid can help establish their contribution to the susceptibility for pulmonary infections in these individuals.
PMCID: PMC2930253  PMID: 20729531
2.  The Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Pulmonary Alveolar-Capillary Barrier Function in Humans 
Aims: Alcohol abuse is associated with the development of the acute respiratory distress syndrome, a disorder characterized by abnormal alveolar-capillary permeability. We hypothesized that individuals with a history of alcohol abuse would have clinical evidence of abnormal alveolar-capillary permeability even in the absence of symptoms. This could contribute to their propensity for the development of this disorder. Methods: Thirty-three subjects with a history of alcohol abuse, but no other medical problems, and 13 age- and smoking-matched controls inhaled 99mTc–DTPA (technetium-labeled diethylenetriamine penta-acetate; an isotope used to measure lung permeability) for a 3-min period, and washout of this isotope was measured for a 90-min period. The rate at which it was cleared from the lungs was assessed and compared between subjects and controls. Results: The half-life of 99mTc–DTPA in the lungs of subjects with alcohol abuse was significantly shorter than that observed in matched controls, even when correcting for the effects of concomitant tobacco use. When the half-life of the isotope for smoking alcohol-abusing subjects and smoking controls were compared separately, there was a trend for the alcohol-abusing subjects to have a shorter half-life of the isotope present in the lungs. This was also true when non-smokers were compared. Conclusions: These observations provide further evidence that alcohol abuse affects the normal permeability of the alveolar-capillary barrier and thereby may contribute to the development of the acute respiratory distress syndrome in individuals with alcohol abuse.
PMCID: PMC2724858  PMID: 18567916

Results 1-2 (2)