Animal Models of Alcoholic Liver Disease

  • Jun Xu
  • Hidekazu TsukamotoEmail author


Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a multifactorial lifestyle disease with enormous medical, economic, and social burdens to the world. Like other debilitating chronic inflammatory diseases, only a fraction of affected individuals develops advanced disease such as chronic alcoholic steatohepatitis, alcoholic neutrophilic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Obviously, animal models that exhibit transitions to these pathologic spectra are most desired as they serve to help identify underlying mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets. With the use of different animal models, the ALD field has witnessed lasting disputes over the nutritional vs. hepatotoxic basis of ALD pathogenesis since 1930. In the past two decades, the rodent models recapitulating the common lifestyle conditions in ALD patients generated the findings which point to the importance of sustained heavy ethanol intake, superimposing binge, and secondary risk factors in reproducing advanced ALD spectra. This review will cover conceptual requirements for optimal ALD animal models, historical perspective on the topic, commonly used rodent models, their advantages vs. disadvantages, clinical relevance, and future potential.


Alcoholic liver disease Animal models Rodent ALD models Intragastric feeding Western diet 



The authors are supported by NIH grants (P50AA011999, R24AA012885, U01AA018663 to HT, and K01AA020524 to JX) and Medical Research Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA Merit Review: 1I01BX001991 and Senior Research Career Scientist Award).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Southern California Research Center for ALPD and CirrhosisLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyKeck School of Medicine of the University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare SystemLos AngelesUSA

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