27 July 2018 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Microglial activation contributes to the neuropathology associated with chronic alcohol exposure and withdrawal, including the expression of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory genes. In the current study, we examined the transcriptome of primary rat microglial cells following incubation with alcohol alone, or alcohol together with a robust inflammatory stimulus.

METHODS: Primary microglia were prepared from mixed rat glial cultures. Cells were incubated with 75 mM ethanol alone or with proinflammatory cytokines ("TII": IL1beta, IFNgamma, and TNFalpha). Isolated mRNA was used for RNAseq analysis and qPCR. Effects of alcohol on phagocytosis were determined by uptake of oligomeric amyloid beta.

RESULTS: Alcohol induced nitrite production in control cells and increased nitrite production in cells co-treated with TII. RNAseq analysis of microglia exposed for 24 h to alcohol identified 312 differentially expressed mRNAs ("Alc-DEs"), with changes confirmed by qPCR analysis. Gene ontology analysis identified phagosome as one of the highest-ranking KEGG pathways including transcripts regulating phagocytosis. Alcohol also increased several complement-related mRNAs that have roles in phagocytosis, including C1qa, b, and c; C3; and C3aR1. RNAseq analysis identified over 3000 differentially expressed mRNAs in microglia following overnight incubation with TII; and comparison to the group of Alc-DEs revealed 87 mRNAs modulated by alcohol but not by TII, including C1qa, b, and c. Consistent with observed changes in phagocytosis-related mRNAs, the uptake of amyloid beta1-42, by primary microglia, was reduced by alcohol.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results define alterations that occur to microglial gene expression following alcohol exposure and suggest that alcohol effects on phagocytosis could contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease.

27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of alcohol as a causal factor for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and whether its effects might vary according to the pathogenic mechanisms underlying cerebral bleeding.

METHODS: We performed a case-control analysis, comparing a cohort of consecutive white patients with ICH aged 55 years and older with a group of age- and sex-matched stroke-free controls, enrolled in the setting of the Multicenter Study on Cerebral Haemorrhage in Italy (MUCH-Italy) between 2002 and 2014. Participants were dichotomized into excessive drinkers (>45 g of alcohol) and light to moderate drinkers or nondrinkers. To isolate the unconfounded effect of alcohol on ICH, we used causal directed acyclic graphs and the back-door criterion to select a minimal sufficient adjustment set(s) of variables for multivariable analyses. Analyses were performed on the whole group as well as separately for lobar and deep ICH.

RESULTS: We analyzed 3,173 patients (1,471 lobar ICH and 1,702 deep ICH) and 3,155 controls. After adjusting for the preselected variables in the minimal sufficient adjustments, heavy alcohol intake was associated with deep ICH risk (odds ratio [OR], 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.36-2.09) as well as with the overall risk of ICH (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.17-1.63), whereas no effect was found for lobar ICH (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.77-1.32).

CONCLUSIONS: In white people aged 55 years and older, high alcohol intake might exert a causal effect on ICH, with a prominent role in the vascular pathologies underlying deep ICH.

27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption (at baseline and over lifetime) and non-fatal and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.

DESIGN: Multicentre case-cohort study.

SETTING: A study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) determinants within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition cohort (EPIC-CVD) from eight European countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 32 549 participants without baseline CVD, comprised of incident CVD cases and a subcohort for comparison.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Non-fatal and fatal CHD and stroke (including ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke).

RESULTS: There were 9307 non-fatal CHD events, 1699 fatal CHD, 5855 non-fatal stroke, and 733 fatal stroke. Baseline alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD, with a hazard ratio of 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.92 to 0.96) per 12 g/day higher intake. There was a J shaped association between baseline alcohol intake and risk of fatal CHD. The hazard ratios were 0.83 (0.70 to 0.98), 0.65 (0.53 to 0.81), and 0.82 (0.65 to 1.03) for categories 5.0-14.9 g/day, 15.0-29.9 g/day, and 30.0-59.9 g/day of total alcohol intake, respectively, compared with 0.1-4.9 g/day. In contrast, hazard ratios for non-fatal and fatal stroke risk were 1.04 (1.02 to 1.07), and 1.05 (0.98 to 1.13) per 12 g/day increase in baseline alcohol intake, respectively, including broadly similar findings for ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Associations with cardiovascular outcomes were broadly similar with average lifetime alcohol consumption as for baseline alcohol intake, and across the eight countries studied. There was no strong evidence for interactions of alcohol consumption with smoking status on the risk of CVD events.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD risk but positively associated with the risk of different stroke subtypes. This highlights the opposing associations of alcohol intake with different CVD types and strengthens the evidence for policies to reduce alcohol consumption.

27 July 2018 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: Individual participant data pooled analyses allow access to non-published data and statistical reanalyses based on more homogeneous criteria than meta-analyses based on systematic reviews. We quantified the impact of publication-related biases and heterogeneity in data analysis and presentation in summary estimates of the association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer.

METHODS: We compared estimates obtained from conventional meta-analyses, using only data available in published reports from studies that take part in the Stomach Cancer Pooling (StoP) Project, with individual participant data pooled analyses including the same studies.

RESULTS: A total of 22 studies from the StoP Project assessed the relation between alcohol intake and gastric cancer, 19 had specific data for levels of consumption and 18 according to cancer location; published reports addressing these associations were available from 18, 5 and 5 studies, respectively. The summary odds ratios [OR, (95%CI)] estimate obtained with published data for drinkers vs. non-drinkers was 10% higher than the one obtained with individual StoP data [18 vs. 22 studies: 1.21 (1.07-1.36) vs. 1.10 (0.99-1.23)] and more heterogeneous (I(2): 63.6% vs 54.4%). In general, published data yielded less precise summary estimates (standard errors up to 2.6 times higher). Funnel plot analysis suggested publication bias.

CONCLUSION: Meta-analyses of the association between alcohol drinking and gastric cancer tended to overestimate the magnitude of the effects, possibly due to publication bias. Additionally, individual participant data pooled analyses yielded more precise estimates for different levels of exposure or cancer subtypes.

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