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Int J Hyperthermia. 1991 Sep-Oct;7(5):749-61.

Oxidative stress as a precursor to the irreversible hepatocellular injury caused by hyperthermia.

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  • 1Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, University of Missouri Health Sciences Center, Department of Surgery, Columbia 65203.


Heat-induced hepatotoxicity accompanying hyperthermic liver perfusion was studied in the isolated, haemoglobin-free perfused rat liver. Trypan blue uptake, a sensitive indicator of cell death, was used to examine the relationship between the efflux of oxidized glutathione (oxidative stress), the appearance of cytosolic enzymes in the perfusate and cell death. Livers were perfused at 37, 42, 42.5 and 43 degrees C. The efflux of total glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) increased with time and temperature. Differences between temperature groups were significant for both parameters for 37 versus 42, 42.5 and 43 degrees C (p less than 0.05). Temperature-related differences in GSH levels appeared at 15 min for 37 versus 42 degrees C and in GSSG levels at 30 min for 37 versus 42 and 42.5 degrees C. Biliary excretion of total GSH increased from 72 nmol at 37 degrees C to 144 nmol at 42 degrees C, 160 nmol at 42.5 degrees C and 124 nmol at 43 degrees C, which was significant for 37 versus 42 and 42.5 degrees C (p less than 0.05). The release of allantoin into the perfusate, a measure of purine catabolism and flux through xanthine oxidase, was increased at 42, 42.5 and 43 degrees C compared to 37 degrees C (p less than 0.05). Liver injury was assessed by measuring the release of asportate aminotransferase (AST) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and uptake of trypan blue after perfusion at each temperature. There was a pronounced release of LDH and AST into the perfusate after 60 min of perfusion at 42, 42.5 and 43 degrees C, the levels of which were significantly different from the 37 degrees C mean level. There was no uptake of trypan blue after 60 min perfusion at 37 degrees C. Perfusion at 42, 42.5 and 43 degrees C resulted in the uptake of trypan blue in the pericentral areas, but the dye uptake was significant (p less than 0.05) compared to 37 degrees C at 42.5 and 43 degrees C only. These data show that heat-induced pericentral cell death is minimal after 60 min at 42-43 degrees C, and that the biochemical process which occurred during this period suggest 'oxidative stress' as a causative factor in hyperthermic hepatotoxicity. In addition, this liver toxicity is probably related to xanthine oxidase activity or the depletion of GSH as the initiating event which leads to lipid peroxidation and cellular damage.

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