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Liver. 2000 Feb;20(1):66-77.

Kupffer cell depletion by CI2MDP-liposomes alters hepatic cytokine expression and delays liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy.

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Department of Surgery, University Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Although Kupffer cells (KCs) are capable of producing important growth-stimulating cytokines, their role in liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy (PH) remains poorly understood.


In the present study liver regeneration was studied after KC-depletion by intravenous administration of liposome-encapsulated dichloromethylene-diphosphonate (C12MDP), a method known to physically eliminate KCs. Furthermore, splenectomy was performed one week prior to PH to exclude the effect of C12MDP-liposomes on macrophage populations in the spleen.


KC-depletion was confirmed in cryostat liver sections stained with the monoclonal antibody ED2, a marker for resident tissue macrophages. Forty-eight hours after PH, the cumulative hepatocyte DNA synthesis, as determined in liver sections by the hepatocyte bromodeoxyuridine labeling index, was significantly decreased in KC-depleted rats when compared to control-rats. The weight of the remnant liver, expressed as a percentage of the initial liver weight, was significantly less at 96 h after PH in KC-depleted rats. KC-depletion abolished the hepatic interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA synthesis and decreased hepatic expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor-beta1(TGF-beta1) mRNA after PH, as was assessed by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Moreover, at 4 h after PH the systemic release of IL-6 was significantly decreased in KC-depleted rats.


We conclude that KCs are important for hepatocyte regeneration after PH. Delayed liver regeneration in KC-depleted rats can be explained, at least in part, by an imbalanced hepatic cytokine expression, thereby suppressing important growth-stimulating cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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