Cellular Immune Functions, Endorphins, and Alcohol Consumption in Males

Ronald Ross Watson, J. C. Jackson, B. Hartmann, Richard Sampliner, D. Mobtey, Cleamond Eskelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The effects of alcohol abuse on cellular immune functions were measured by various levels of alcohol use in adult men. Total lifelong abstainers were used as controls. Previous abusers, current abusers, and patients with alcoholic cirrhosis or pancreatitis were age‐matched to controls. T‐lymphocyte mitogenesis stimulated by phy‐tohemagglutmin and concanavaNn A was generally reduced in peripheral blood lymphocytes of current and previous alcohol consumers, although the decrease was not statistically significant B‐cefl mitogenesis stimulated by pokeweed mitogen was not changed by previous alcohol consumption. The number of T‐ceHs was not changed by either previous or current alcohol abuse. T‐helper cells were signiftcantty increased and T‐suppressor cefls increased only in the patients with alcoholic cirrhosis or pancreatitis. The percentage of T‐lymphocytes with T‐suppressor characteristics in controls was 27% while in alcoholic cirrhosis or pancreatitis subjects it was 16%. Plasma corticosteroid levels were significantly increased in people currently consuming alcohol (12.1 ± 1.1 mg/dl) compared to controls (7.7 ± 1.1). The corticosteroid levels were also higher in previous alcohol abusers although not statistically significant. Plasma endorphin levels were increased by severe alcohol abuse in the patients with cirrhosis or pancreatitis to 25.03 ± 6.74 from 11.85 ± 2.46 pg/ml in controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-254
Number of pages7
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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