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Ann Med. 2005;37(8):603-12.

Relationship between tumor necrosis factor-alpha and ammonia in patients with hepatic encephalopathy due to chronic liver failure.

Author information

1
Department of Internal Medicine B, Bnai Zion Medical Center, PO Box 6477, Haifa 31063, Israel. majed.odeh@b-zion.org.il

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We have recently demonstrated that in humans, circulating levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) correlate positively with severity of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) due to chronic liver failure.AIM. The main aim of this larger population study is to determine the relationship between TNF and ammonia in patients with HE and chronic liver failure due to liver cirrhosis.

METHODS:

Circulating levels of TNF and ammonia were measured in 108 patients with liver cirrhosis due to various etiologies in various clinical grades of HE (grades 0-4). TNF concentrations were measured in venous serum using commercially available solid-phase high sensitivity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Ammonia levels were determined in venous plasma by the enzymatic method, using the glutamate dehydrogenase reaction.

RESULTS:

The mean+/-SEM values of circulating levels of TNF and ammonia at presentation in patients with grade 0 of HE (n = 30) were 3.89+/-0.2 pg/mL and 49.8+/-2.8 microg/mL respectively, in patients with grade 1 of HE (n = 26) were 8.56+/-0.34 pg/mL and 101.6+/-6.5 microg/mL respectively, in patients with grade 2 of HE (n = 22) were 11.59+/-0.48 pg/mL and 160.3+/-10.7 microg/mL respectively, in patients with grade 3 of HE (n = 20) were 19.98+/-0.94 pg/mL and 228.8+/-16.1 microg/mL respectively, and in patients with grade 4 of HE (n = 10) were 51.53+/-8.59 pg/mL and 284.2+/-20.3 microg/mL respectively. A significant positive correlation was found between circulating levels of TNF and those of ammonia (r = 0.62, P< 0.0001), and also between circulating levels of both substances and severity of HE in these patients (r = 0.95, P<0.0001, and r = 0.9, P<0.0001 respectively). TNF and ammonia were both significant independent predictors of severity of HE (P<0.0001 for both variables).

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study demonstrate a significant relationship between TNF and ammonia in patients with chronic liver failure and HE, and so strengthen the suggestion that TNF could be strongly involved in the pathogenesis of HE in these patients. Hence, we suggest a new theory in the pathogenesis of HE, the "TNF theory".

PMID:
16338762
DOI:
10.1080/07853890500317414
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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