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Systematic Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00632


 Violette Coppens1, 2,  Manuel Morrens1, 2, Marianne Destoop1* and  Geert Dom3*
  • 1Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 2Psychiatric Hospital Duffel, Belgium
  • 3University of Antwerp, Belgium

Of late, evidence emerges that the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases and their affiliated symptomatologies are at least partly contributable to inflammatory processes. Also in alcohol use disorders (AUD), this interaction is strongly apparent, with severely immunogenic liver cirrhosis being one of the most critical sequelae of chronic abusive drinking. This somatic immune system activation negatively impacts brain functioning and additionally, alcohol abuse appears to have a direct detrimental effect on the brain by actively stimulating its immune cells and responses. As cognitive decline majorly contributes to AUD’s debility, it is important to know to what extent impairment of cognitive functioning is due to these (neuro-)inflammatory aberrations.
We hereby summarize the current existing literature on the interplay between alcohol use disorders, inflammation and cognition in a systematic review according to the PRISMA-P guidelines for the systematic review.
Main findings
Although literature on the role of inflammation in alcohol use-related cognitive deficiency remains scarce, current findings indicate that pro-inflammatory processes indeed result in exacerbation of several domains of cognitive deterioration. Interestingly, microglia, the immune cells of the brain, appear to exert initial compensatory neuroprotective functionalities upon acute ethanol exposure while chronic alcohol intake seems to attenuate these responses and overall microglial activity.
As these results indicate inflammation to be of importance in cognitive impairment following alcohol consumption and might as such provide alternate therapeutic avenues, a considerable increase in research efforts in this domain is urgently required.

Keywords: alcohol, Alcohol disorder, Cognition, Inflammation, Neuro inflammatory response

Received: 09 Jan 2019; Accepted: 06 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Coppens, Morrens, Destoop and Dom. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
MD, PhD. Marianne Destoop, Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, 2610, Antwerp, Belgium,
Prof. Geert Dom, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium,