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Intern Med. 1998 Jan;37(1):11-7.

In vitro study of neutrophil apoptosis in liver cirrhosis.

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Second Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Fukuoka.


Cirrhotic patients frequently manifest neutropenia and are predisposed to bacterial infections. We examined neutrophil apoptosis to determine if neutrophil survival in cirrhotic patients is shortened. Neutrophils isolated from 10 cirrhotic patients and 10 healthy volunteers were cultured for 24 hours. The time course of neutrophil viability was assessed by the trypan blue dye exclusion test and apoptosis was determined morphologically by light and electron microscopy. Apoptotic cells were also confirmed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick and labeling (TUNEL) and DNA gel electrophoresis. Fas expression of neutrophils was examined by flow cytometry. Viabilities were significantly decreased in liver cirrhosis (p<0.0001). Neutrophils from cirrhotic patients exhibited significantly greater apoptosis. Fas expression of neutrophils was significantly reduced for cirrhotic patients (p=0.0001). Neutrophils from cirrhotic patients exhibited markedly accelerated apoptosis in vitro. Shortening of neutrophil survival via apoptosis may explain in part the mechanism of neutropenia in cirrhotic patients.

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