Alcohol consumption, alcoholic liver disease, alcoholic liver injury, alcoholic hepatitis, alcohol-related liver inflammation, liver, immunity, innate immune response, adaptive immune response, macrophage, macrophage phenotypic switch, Kupffer cell
Recent studies have suggested that macrophages have a critical role in the development of alcohol-induced inflammation in the liver. To define the precise pathogenic function of these cells during alcoholic liver disease (ALD), it is extremely important to conduct extensive studies in clinical settings that further elucidate the phenotypic diversity of macrophages in the context of ALD. Research to date already has identified several characteristics of macrophages that underlie the cells’ actions, including macrophage polarization and their phenotypic diversity. Other analyses have focused on the contributions of resident versus infiltrating macrophages/monocytes, as well as on the roles of macrophage mediators, in the development of ALD. Findings point to the potential of macrophages as a therapeutic target in alcoholic liver injury. Future studies directed toward understanding how alcohol affects macrophage phenotypic switch in the liver and other tissues, whether the liver microenvironment determines macrophage function in ALD, and if targeting of macrophages alleviates alcoholic liver injury, will provide promising strategies to manage patients with alcoholic hepatitis.