Cerebrospinal Fluid Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein-1 in Alcoholics: Support for a Neuroinflammatory Model of Chronic Alcoholism




Liver inflammation in alcoholism has been hypothesized to influence the development of a neuroinflammatory process in the brain characterized by neurodegeneration and altered cognitive function. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (MCP-1/CCL2) elevations have been noted in the alcoholic brain at autopsy and may have a role in this process.


We studied cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of MCP-1 as well as interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α in 13 healthy volunteers and 28 alcoholics during weeks 1 and 4 following detoxification. Serum liver enzymes were obtained as markers of alcohol-related liver inflammation.


Compared to healthy volunteers, MCP-1 levels were significantly higher in alcoholics both on day 4 and day 25 (p < 0.0001). Using multiple regression analysis, we found that MCP-1 concentrations were positively associated with the liver enzymes gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT; p = 0.03) and aspartate aminotransferase/glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (AST/GOT; p = 0.004).


These preliminary findings are consistent with the hypothesis that neuroinflammation as indexed by CSF MCP-1 is associated with alcohol-induced liver inflammation, as defined by peripheral concentrations of GGT and AST/GOT.