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The Liver and LPS

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a very common bacterial toxin that causes damage to the liver and other parts of the body. LPS is also known as endotoxin; several of the research articles use the term endotoxin instead of LPS.

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1: Br J Pharmacol. 1995 Dec;116(7):2845-51.
The multiple organ dysfunction syndrome caused by endotoxin in the rat: attenuation of liver dysfunction by inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase.

* Thiemermann C, * Ruetten H, * Wu CC, * Vane JR.

William Harvey Research Institute, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College, London.

1. We have investigated whether (i) endotoxaemia caused by E. coli lipopolysaccharide in the anaesthetized rat causes a multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS; e.g. circulatory failure, renal failure, liver failure), and (ii) an enhanced formation of nitric oxide (NO) due to induction of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) contributes to the MODS. In addition, this study elucidates the beneficial and adverse effects of aminoethyl-isothiourea (AE-ITU), a relatively selective inhibitor of iNOS activity, and NG-methyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), a non-selective inhibitor of NOS activity on the MODS caused by endotoxaemia. 2. In the anaesthetized rat, LPS caused a fall in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) from 117 +/- 3 mmHg (time 0) to 97 +/- 4 mmHg at 2 h (P < 0.05, n = 15) and 84 +/- 4 mmHg at 6 h (P < 0.05, n = 15). The pressor effect of noradrenaline (NA, 1 micrograms kg-1, i.v.) was also significantly reduced at 1 to 6 h after LPS (vascular hyporeactivity). Treatment of LPS-rats with AE-ITU (1 mg kg-1, i.v. plus 1 mg kg-1 h-1 starting at 2 h after LPS) caused only a transient rise in MAP, but significantly attenuated the delayed vascular hyporeactivity seen in LPS-rats. Infusion of L-NMMA (3 mg kg-1, i.v. plus 3 mg kg-1 h-1) caused a rapid and sustained rise in MAP and attenuated the delayed vascular hyporeactivity to NA. Neither AE-ITU nor L-NMMA had any effect on either MAP or the pressor effect elicited by NA in rats infused with saline rather than LPS. 3. Endotoxaemia for 6 h was associated with a significant rise in the serum levels of aspartate or alanine aminotransferase (i.e. GOT or GPT), gamma-glutamyl-transferase (gamma GT), and bilirubin, and hence, liver dysfunction. Treatment of LPS-rats with AE-ITU significantly attenuated this liver dysfunction (rise in GOT, GPT, gamma GT and bilirubin) (P < 0.05, n = 10). In contrast, L-NMMA reduced the increase in the serum levels of gamma GT and bilirubin, but not in GOT and GPT (n = 5). Injection of LPS also caused a time-dependent, but rapid (almost maximal at 2 h), increase in the serum levels of urea and creatinine, and hence, renal dysfunction. This renal dysfunction was not affected by either AE-ITU (n = 10) or L-NMMA (n = 5). In rats infused with saline rather than LPS, neither AE-ITU (n = 4) nor L-NMMA (n = 4) had any significant effect on the serum levels of GOT, GPT, gamma GT, bilirubin, creatinine or urea. 4. Endotoxaemia for 6 h resulted in a 4.5 fold rise in the serum levels of nitrite (9.13 +/- 0.77 microM, P < 0.01, n = 15), which was significantly reduced by treatment with AE-ITU (6.32 +/- 0.48 microM, P < 0.05, n = 10) or L-NMMA (5.10 +/- 0.40 microM, P < 0.05, n = 5). In addition, endotoxaemia for 6 h was also associated with a significant increase in iNOS activity in lung and liver homogenates, which was significantly reduced in lung or liver homogenates obtained from LPS-rats treated with either AE-ITU or L-NMMA. 5. Thus, AE-ITU or L-NMMA (i) inhibits iNOS activity in LPS-rats without causing a significant increase in MAP in rats infused with saline and, hence inhibition of endothelial NOS activity, and (ii) attenuates the delayed circulatory failure as well as the liver dysfunction caused by endotoxaemia in the rat. Thus, an enhanced formation of NO may contribute to the development of liver failure in endotoxic shock.

PMID: 8680715 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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1: Intensive Care Med. 2000 Jan;26(1):117-24.
S-Methylisothiourea sulfate improves renal, but not hepatic dysfunction in canine endotoxic shock model.

* Mitaka C, * Hirata Y, * Masaki Y, * Takei T, * Yokoyama K, * Imai T.

Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45, Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8519, Japan.

OBJECTIVE: Excess production of nitric oxide (NO) by inducible NO synthase (iNOS) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of septic shock. This study was designed to see whether S-methylisothiourea sulfate (SMT), a selective inhibitor for iNOS, prevents cardiovascular changes and multiple organ damage in the canine endotoxic shock model. DESIGN: Prospective, comparable, experimental study. SETTING: Laboratory at a university hospital. SUBJECTS: Twenty male mongrel dogs were studied under pentobarbital anesthesia. INTERVENTIONS: Dogs were divided into three groups: bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) group (n = 7) receiving continuous infusion of LPS (2 mg/kg/h for 1 h); LPS plus SMT group (n = 7) receiving LPS and SMT (1 mg/kg, bolus i. v., followed by continuous infusion of 1 mg/kg/h for 1 h); and vehicle plus SMT group (n = 6). MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Hemodynamics, blood gas parameters, and urine output were measured during 6 h observation periods. Serum levels of lactate, transaminases, and bilirubin were measured at baseline, 1 and 6 h. Creatinine and free water clearance, urine sodium excretion and fractional excretion of sodium were calculated. LPS caused a profound hypotension associated with decreases in cardiac output and oxygen delivery, lactic acidosis, renal and liver dysfunction, and thrombocytopenia. SMT prevented the LPS-induced hypotension and renal dysfunction, whereas it did not affect the LPS-induced decreases in cardiac output or oxygen delivery, hyperlactatemia, liver dysfunction, or thrombocytopenia. SMT alone had no appreciable effects on hemodynamics, blood gases, liver or renal functions. CONCLUSIONS: These findings show that SMT improves renal, but not hepatic dysfunction, in dogs with endotoxic shock, suggesting that iNOS-derived NO plays differential roles in sepsis-associated multiple organ dysfunction.

PMID: 10663292 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

View full version research article about LPS and liver dysfunction
This article shows that multiple exposures to bacterial toxins are more harmful than a single dose of LPS.

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1: Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2006 Jun;231(6):1182-6.

Altered expression of endothelin, vascular endothelial growth factor, and its receptor in hepatic tissue in endotoxemic rat.

Zaedi S, Jesmin S, Yamaguchi N, Shimojo N, Maeda S, Gando S, Yamaguchi I, Goto K, Miyauchi T.

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8575, Japan.

Sepsis involves a heterogeneous class of syndromes, and septic shock, a severe form of sepsis, is associated with the development of progressive damage in multiple organs. The present study examined the time-dependent alterations of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in liver tissue in a septic rat model. Healthy male Wistar rats aged 15 weeks received 15 mg/kg lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and were sacrificed at different time points (1, 3, 6, and 10 hrs after treatment). Rats that did not receive LPS were considered to be controls. A 28-fold increase in the ET-1 level was observed in liver tissue 10 hrs after LPS administration. VEGF was also altered in hepatic tissue in a time-dependent manner. A gradual increase of VEGF expression in liver tissue after LPS administration was observed. Expression of Flt-1, the vascular permeability receptor of VEGF, was also increased in liver tissue after LPS administration. ET-1 is a potent vasoconstrictor and, therefore, may play a role in the regulation of hepatic perfusion in a sepsis model. On the other hand, VEGF may be involved in capillary leakage in liver tissue after LPS administration. The present findings suggest that there might be a loss of balance between the ET-1 and VEGF levels in the septic liver at different time points, which could contribute to the pathogenesis of acute liver injury in endotoxemia.

PMID: 16741073 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]