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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evaluation of topical phenol as a means of producing autonomic denervation of the liver.

Topical application of 90% phenol around the bile duct, portal vein, and hepatic artery, as well as along each of the three hepatic ligaments was tested for effectiveness of rapid and chronic denervation in cats. Because phenol produces nonselective nerve degeneration, it was assumed that proof of functional sympathectomy was adequate proof of disruption of parasympathetic and afferent nerves as well. Functional sympathetic neurons were evaluated by measuring physiological responses to direct electrical stimulation of the anterior hepatic plexus. Acute or rapid denervation was assessed by the degree of rise in portal blood pressure produced by nerve stimulation. Complete denervation appeared within 20 min and was still present by 80 min postapplication. Chronic denervation was tested by applying the phenol and recovering the cats for 6-14 days. An equal number (n = 6) of sham-denervated cats were compared. Phenol denervation did not alter basal glucose, insulin or glucagon levels, hematocrit, blood pressure, or hepatic glycogen levels. These variables are a good index of stress and metabolic status. Nerve stimulation in the chronic sham group raised portal pressure, arterial pressure, and blood glucose levels, whereas the chronic-denervated group showed no responses. The health of the two groups appeared normal with the sole difference being that the painted tissues were mildly discolored and more adhesions appeared in the phenol-denervated set. Thus phenol is a useful tool for producing hepatic denervation. It is less traumatic, faster, and more certain than surgical denervation. In addition, the hepatic lymphatics can be preserved using the topical application of phenol.[1]


  1. Evaluation of topical phenol as a means of producing autonomic denervation of the liver. Lautt, W.W., Carroll, A.M. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. (1984) [Pubmed]
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