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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Aug;291(2):G355-63. Epub 2006 Apr 13.

ANIT toxicity toward mouse hepatocytes in vivo is mediated primarily by neutrophils via CD18.

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Liver Center, University of California, CA 94110, USA.


Alpha-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT) is a hepatotoxicant that causes acute cholestatic hepatitis with infiltration of neutrophils around bile ducts and necrotic hepatocytes. The objective of this study was to determine whether the beta2-integrin CD18, which plays an important role in leukocyte invasion and cytotoxicity, contributes to ANIT-induced hepatic inflammation and liver injury. Mice with varying levels of leukocyte CD18 expression were treated with ANIT and monitored for hepatic neutrophil influx and liver injury over 48 h. Mice that were partially deficient in CD18 (30% of normal levels) developed periportal inflammation and widespread hepatic necrosis after ANIT treatment in a pattern identical to that in wild-type (WT) mice. In contrast, mice that completely lack CD18 (CD18 null) were resistant to ANIT toxicity. Forty-eight hours after ANIT, CD18-null mice displayed 60% lower serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and 75% less hepatic necrosis, as shown by morphometry, than WT mice. This was true despite evidence that ANIT still provoked hepatic neutrophil influx in CD18-null mice. WT mice could also be protected from ANIT-induced hepatocellular necrosis, by depleting the animals of neutrophils. Notably, neither CD18-null mice nor neutrophil-depleted WT mice exhibited any attenuation of bile duct injury or cholestasis due to ANIT. We conclude from these experiments that neutrophils invade ANIT-treated livers in a CD18-independent fashion but utilize CD18 to induce hepatocellular cytotoxicity. The results emphasize that neutrophil-mediated amplification of ANIT-induced liver injury is directed toward hepatocytes rather than cholangiocytes. In fact, the data indicate that the majority of ANIT toxicity toward hepatocytes in vivo is neutrophil driven.

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