New research from the University of Rochester has uncovered clues about why binge drinking may increase risk for cardiovascular disease.
Researchers cultured human umbilical venous endothelial cells, primary blood monocytes and THP-1 monocytes, and treated them with various concentrations of acetaldehyde, a carcinogen produced by alcohol, for six hours the approximate time the chemical stays in the bloodstream after binge drinking.
Acetaldehyde increased expression of monocytes, which past research has shown plays a significant role in development of atherosclerosis. The researchers concluded that the finding shows a possible link between acetaldehyde and hardening of the arteries.
“The fact that acetaldehyde acts to increase monocyte CCR2 receptor expression, as demonstrated in the present study, suggests that this is a potential mechanism by which elevated levels of acetaldehyde achieved with binge-drinking episodes may lead to an increase in the occurrence of cardiovascular-related diseases,” the study authors said.
The study’s findings were published online in the Oct. 18, 2008 issue of the journal Atherosclerosis.