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J Hepatol. 2001 Aug;35(2):187-94.

Rat liver slices as a tool to study LPS-induced inflammatory response in the liver.

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Department of Pharmacokinetics and Drug Delivery, University Centre for Pharmacy, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Inflammation in the liver is a complex interaction between parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells, and therefore can not be studied in vitro in pure cultures of these cells.


We investigated whether Kupffer cells in the liver slice are still responsive to an inflammatory stimulus of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and evoke an inflammatory response in the hepatocytes.


TNFalpha, IL-1beta and IL-10 were significantly elevated in culture medium of LPS-stimulated rat liver slices. Nitric oxide (NO) production of LPS-treated slices gradually increased from 5 to 24 h (24 h: 81+/-5 microM vs. 14+/-2 microM in control P < 0.05), paralleled by inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in the hepatocytes, iNOS mRNA was induced after 3 h. NO production but not iNOS induction was significantly inhibited by NOS inhibitors S-methylisothiourea and N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methylester. Both pentoxifylline and dexamethasone inhibited TNFalpha and IL-1beta production, albeit to a different extent, iNOS induction and, as a result thereof, NO production.


These results imply that non-parenchymal cells in liver slices are viable and can be activated by LPS. In addition, it is concluded that the upregulation of iNOS in hepatocytes by LPS is caused by cytokines produced by Kupffer cells because inhibition of TNFalpha and IL-1beta production attenuated iNOS induction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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