Acute Alcohol Intoxication during Hemorrhagic Shock: Impact on Host Defense from Infection

K. L. Zambell, H. Phelan, C. Vande Stouwe, P. Zhang, J. E. Shellito, Patricia E. Molina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Acute alcohol intoxication is a frequent underlying condition associated with traumatic injury. Our studies have demonstrated that acute alcohol intoxication significantly impairs the immediate hemodynamic, metabolic, and inflammatory responses to hemorrhagic shock. This study investigated whether acute alcohol intoxication during hemorrhagic shock would alter the outcome from an infectious challenge during the initial 24 hr recovery period. Methods: Chronically catheterized male Sprague Dawley® rats were randomized to acute alcohol intoxication (EtOH; 1.75 g/kg bolus followed by a constant 15 hr infusion at 250-300 mg/kg/hr) or isocaloric isovolemic dextrose infusion (dex; 3 ml + 0.375 ml/hr). EtOH and dex were assigned to either fixed-volume (50%) hemorrhagic shock followed by fluid resuscitation with Ringer's lactate (EtOH/hem, dex/hem) or sham hemorrhagic shock (EtOH/sham, dex/sham). Indexes of circulating neutrophil function (apoptosis, phagocytosis, oxidative burst) were obtained at baseline, at completion of hemorrhagic shock, and at the end of fluid resuscitation. Bacterial clearance, lung cytokine expression, and myeloperoxidase activity were determined at 6 and 18 hr after an intratracheal challenge with Klebsiella pneumoniae (107 colony-forming units). Results: Mean arterial blood pressure was significantly lower in acute alcohol intoxication-hemorrhagic shock animals throughout the hemorrhagic shock. In sham animals, acute alcohol intoxication alone did not produce significant changes in neutrophil apoptosis or phagocytic activity but significantly suppressed phorbol myristic acid (PMA)-stimulated oxidative burst. Hemorrhagic shock produced a modest increase in neutrophil apoptosis and suppression of neutrophil phagocytic capacity but significantly suppressed PMA-stimulated oxidative burst. Acute alcohol intoxication exacerbated the hemorrhagic shock-induced neutrophil apoptosis and the hemorrhagic shock-induced suppression of phagocytosis without further affecting PMA-stimulated oxidative burst. Fluid resuscitation did not restore neutrophil phagocytosis or oxidative burst. Acute alcohol intoxication decreased (-40%) 3-day survival from K. pneumoniae in hemorrhagic shock animals, impaired bacterial clearance during the first 18 hr postinfection, and prolonged lung proinflammatory cytokine expression. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that the early alterations in metabolic and inflammatory responses to hemorrhagic shock produced by acute alcohol intoxication are associated with neutrophil dysfunction and impaired host response to a secondary infectious challenge leading to increased morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Alcohol
  • Cytokines
  • Hemorrhage
  • Neutrophil
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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