A Mechanistic Review of Cell Death in Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury

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Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a major health problem in the United States and worldwide without successful treatments. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to ALD, which is characterized by steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. Recent studies suggest that alcohol induces both cell death and adaptive cell survival pathways in the liver, and the balance of cell death and cell survival ultimately decides the pathogenesis of ALD. This review summarizes the recent progress on the role and mechanisms of apoptosis, necroptosis, and autophagy in the pathogenesis of ALD. Understanding the complex regulation of apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy may help to develop novel therapeutic strategies by targeting all 3 pathways simultaneously.

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