Endotoxin increases paracellular permeability of isolated rat hepatocyte couplets

Kawaguchi, T.; Sakisaka, S.; Harada, M.; Hanada, S.; Taniguchi, E.; Koga, H.; Sasatomi, K.; Tanikawa, K.; Sata, M.

Hepatology Research the Official Journal of the Japan Society of Hepatology 20(1): 144-154


ISSN/ISBN: 1386-6346
PMID: 11282493
DOI: 10.1016/s1386-6346(00)00129-7
Accession: 045962417

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Hyperbilirubinemia is frequently associated with endotoxemia. Regurgitation of bile constituents including bilirubin into the sinusoidal space is prevented by tight junctions which maintain paracellular permeability between hepatocytes. To investigate the mechanism of endotoxin-associated hyperbilirubinemia, we have studied the changes in paracellular permeability of primary hepatocyte couplets treated with endotoxin. In addition, we examined the effects of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), which has been widely used for various liver diseases, on endotoxin-associated changes in paracellular permeability. The paracellular permeability of hepatocyte couplets was evaluated by paracellular penetration of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran with molecular weights of 3, 10 and 70K using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Endotoxin increased the paracellular penetration of FITC-dextran 3 and 10K. These changes were prevented by treatment with UDCA. There was little paracellular penetration of FITC-dextran 70K under any conditions. These results suggested that endotoxin increased the paracellular permeability of hepatocyte couplets and these changes were prevented by treatment with UDCA. Furthermore, bile regurgitation through the paracellular route is involved in endotoxin-associated hyperbilirubinemia, and UDCA might be a potential therapeutic agent for endotoxin-associated hyperbilirubinemia.