Cardiovascular Toxicology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 291–308 | Cite as

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Pathophysiologic Insights

  • Mariann R. Piano
  • Shane A. Phillips


Alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is a specific heart muscle disease found in individuals with a history of long-term heavy alcohol consumption. ACM is associated with a number of adverse histological, cellular, and structural changes within the myocardium. Several mechanisms are implicated in mediating the adverse effects of ethanol, including the generation of oxidative stress, apoptotic cell death, impaired mitochondrial bioenergetics/stress, derangements in fatty acid metabolism and transport, and accelerated protein catabolism. In this review, we discuss the evidence for such mechanisms and present the potential importance of drinking patterns, genetic susceptibility, nutritional factors, race, and sex. The purpose of this review is to provide a mechanistic paradigm for future research in the area of ACM.


Alcoholic cardiomyopathy Cardiovascular Alcohol 



Due to page limitations, we recognize that we have not included all the excellent scientific work completed in the area of alcohol and the cardiovascular system. This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants AA015578 (MRP), HL85614 (SAP), HL095701 (SAP), and HL095701-02S1 (SAP). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biobehavioral Health ScienceUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical TherapyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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