Author(s): Mills PR, MacSween RN, Dick HM, Hislop WS
Nutritional status and in vivo immune responses were investigated in 30 patients with alcoholic liver disease who were drinking heavily up until emergency hospital admission. Investigations were performed on admission and after 2 wk abstention and adequate hospital diet. No relationship was found between the severity of liver disease revealed histologically and the recent quantity or total duration of alcohol intake, inadequacy of diet, or nutritional status. Skin anergy was more common in those patients with cirrhosis but did not relate to depletion in circulating T lymphocytes, poor nutritional status, or to the direct effect of alcohol toxicity. Acute alcohol toxicity did, however, produce extensive and rapidly reversible metabolic and cellular changes including reduction in serum potassium, magnesium and phosphate and depletion of all circulating lymphocyte subpopulations.