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Metab Brain Dis. 2002 Dec;17(4):463-75.

Improvement in central nervous system functions during treatment of liver failure with albumin dialysis MARS--a review of clinical, biochemical, and electrophysiological data.

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Department of Medicine, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany.


The Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS) is a nonbiological liver support method based on the principles of dialysis, filtration, and adsorption. It allows the safe and efficient removal of both albumin-bound and water-soluble toxic metabolites, including ammonia, aromatic amino acids, tryptophan, and related phenolic and indolic products, as well as benzodiazepines. A well-documented effect of the treatment is the improvement of the hemodynamic situation of decompensated chronic patients. Systemic vascular resistance, mean arterial pressure, cerebral blood flow, and cerebral oxygen consumption increased significantly. The degree of hepatic encephalopathy decreased significantly. Increased intracranial pressure could be normalized in both chronic and fulminant liver failure. In three randomized clinical trials significant improvement of survival could be demonstrated. In a model of murine neuronal networks cultured on multi-microelectrode array plates and incubated with plasma from liver failure patients, a normalization of the spike and burst pattern could be observed, if plasma samples from MARS-treated patients before and after treatment were compared. In conclusion, MARS significantly improves central nervous system functions. It can serve as a model for the further investigation of the role of protein-bound substances in hepatic encephalopathy and cerebral hemodynamics.

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