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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997 Oct;9(10):975-9.

Relationship between cytochrome P-450 induction by rifampicin, hepatic volume and portal blood flow in man.

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Department of General Internal Medicine, University of Bonn, Germany.



Induction of hepatic cytochrome P-450-dependent oxidative metabolism is related to an almost identical increase (30%) in both the liver weight and portal blood flow in animals. In humans by contrast, an increased liver blood flow (44%) but no significant increase in liver volume has been reported.


Therefore, we studied prospectively the relationship between P-450 induction by rifampicin, hepatic volume and portal blood flow in 10 healthy volunteers.


After a pre-treatment phase (day 1 to 7) the 10 volunteers received 600 mg/day of rifampicin from day 7 to 12. The urinary 6-beta-hydroxycortisol output as a measure of oxidative metabolism (CYP3A4) and portal blood flow (pulsed Doppler ultrasound) were determined on days 1, 7, 11 and 13. Hepatic magnetic resonance volumetry was performed on days 1 and 13.


Urinary 6-beta-hydroxycortisol output increased in all volunteers (P = 0.0051) from a median of 2.15 micrograms/day/kg (1.8-3.3 micrograms/day/kg) on day 1 to 9.9 micrograms/day/kg (5.7-14 micrograms/day/kg) on day 13. In 9 of 10 volunteers induction by rifampicin was related to an increase (P = 0.0218) in liver volume from a median of 1570 cm3 (1390-1830 cm3) to a median of 1690 cm3 (1420-1860 cm3). The portal flow as assessed by colour Doppler ultrasound did not change significantly between day 1 (median 22 cm/s (15-35 cm/s)) and day 13 (median 19 cm/s (16-39 cm/s)).


A fourfold increase of urinary 6-beta-hydroxycortisol output after induction of cytochrome P-450 by rifampicin is associated with a significant but less than 10% increase in human liver volume. No increase of portal perfusion as assessed by Doppler ultrasound could be detected in this study.

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