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Arch Toxicol. 2007 Oct;81(10):729-41. Epub 2007 Apr 13.

VEGF isoforms and receptors expression throughout acute acetaminophen-induced liver injury and regeneration.

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Department of Experimental Pharmacology, Medical School, University of Athens, Mikras Asias 75, Goudi, 115 27 Athens, Greece.


Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely-used analgesic and a known hepatotoxic agent. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a growth factor with multiple functional roles. VEGF plays an important role in angiogenesis and hepatic regeneration. The aim of this study was to determine the expression of VEGF isoforms and its receptors throughout liver regeneration after the administration of a toxic dose of APAP in rats. Ten groups of adult male rats received a dose of 3.5 g/kg b.w. of APAP per os. The rats were killed post administration at 0-288 h. Blood and liver tissue were extracted. Determination of serum transaminases and alkaline phosphatase activities was performed. Liver injury and regeneration were assessed with hematoxylin-eosin specimens, morphometric analysis, hepatic thymidine kinase assay and Ki-67 expression. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical methods were used for assessment of VEGF isoforms and receptors differential expression. High activities of aspartate aminotransferase were observed at 24 and 36 h with another peak of activity at 192 h post administration. Alanine aminotransferase was highest at 36 h. Alkaline phosphatase was increased post 24 h being higher at 72,192 and 240 h. Centrilobular necrosis was observed at 48-72 h and thorough restoration of the liver microarchitecture was observed at 288 h. Liver regeneration lasted from 24-192 h according to the results from thymidine kinase activity and Ki-67 expression. VEGF and VEGF receptor-2 m-RNA levels presented with a three-peak pattern of expression at 12-24, 72-96 and 192-240 h post administration. Significant difference was noted between periportal and centrilobular immunohistochemical expression. VEGF proves to play a critical role during APAP-induced liver regeneration as it presents with three points of higher expression. The first two time points are associated with the initial inflammatory reaction to the noxious stimulus and the hepatocyte regenerative process where as the third one is indicative of the potential involvement of VEGF in processes of remodeling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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