Chronic alcohol abuse has a detrimental effect on the brain and liver. There is no effective treatment for these patients, and the mechanism underlying alcohol addiction and consequent alcohol-induced damage of the liver/brain axis remains unresolved. We compared experimental models of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and alcohol dependence in mice and demonstrated that genetic ablation of IL-17 receptor A (IL-17ra–/–) or pharmacological blockade of IL-17 signaling effectively suppressed the increased voluntary alcohol drinking in alcohol-dependent mice and blocked alcohol-induced hepatocellular and neurological damage. The level of circulating IL-17A positively correlated with the alcohol use in excessive drinkers and was further increased in patients with ALD as compared with healthy individuals. Our data suggest that IL-17A is a common mediator of excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced liver/brain injury, and targeting IL-17A may provide a novel strategy for treatment of alcohol-induced pathology.
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