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Am J Physiol. 1996 Jun;270(6 Pt 1):E1037-42.

Eliminating metabolic abnormalities of portacaval shunting by restoring normal liver blood flow.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Finch University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School, Illinois 60064-3095, USA.


Portacaval shunting causes a variety of anatomic, metabolic, and physiological changes. However, it has not been determined whether, and to what degree, these changes are permanent after a sustained period of shunting. We prepared three groups of rats for study of the recovery process. One group had side-to-side shunts for 3 wk, one group had side-to-side shunts for 2 wk followed by the restoration of normal liver circulation for 1 wk, and one group (control) had sham operations. Side-to-side shunting causes liver atrophy, increased plasma ammonia, altered plasma and brain amino acid spectra, decreased plasma glucose, and increased transport of neutral amino acids across the blood-brain barrier. After restoration of the normal pattern of liver circulation by shunt repair, the liver regained its normal size within 1 day. All abnormalities associated with liver dysfunction disappeared with the exception of plasma glucose, which remained approximately 15% lower than control values.

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