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World J Gastroenterol. Mar 21, 2010; 16(11): 1358-1365
Published online Mar 21, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i11.1358
Alcohol-induced alterations of the hepatocyte cytoskeleton
Blythe D Shepard, Pamela L Tuma
Blythe D Shepard, Pamela L Tuma, Department of Biology, The Catholic University of America, Washington, 620 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20064, United States
Author contributions: Both authors contributed to the literature search and the writing of this manuscript.
Supported by The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (AA015683 and A017626) awarded to Tuma PL
Correspondence to: Pamela L Tuma, PhD, Department of Biology, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20064, United States.
Telephone: +1-202-3196681 Fax: +1-202-3195721
Received: December 21, 2009
Revised: January 18, 2010
Accepted: January 25, 2010
Published online: March 21, 2010

The hepatocyte cytoskeleton consists of three filamentous networks: microtubules, actin microfilaments and keratin intermediate filaments. Because of the abundance of the proteins that comprise each system and the central role each network plays in a variety of cellular processes, the three filament systems have been the focus of a host of studies aimed at understanding the progression of alcohol-induced liver injury. In this review, we will briefly discuss the hepatic organization of each cytoskeletal network and highlight some components of each system. We will also describe what is known about ethanol-induced changes in the dynamics and distributions of each cytoskeletal system and discuss what is known about changes in protein expression levels and post-translational modifications. Finally, we will describe the possible consequences of these cytoskeletal alterations on hepatocyte function and how they might contribute to the progression of liver disease.

Keywords: Ethanol, Hepatotoxicity, Tubulin, Actin, Keratin