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

Hepatic encephalopathy in rats with thioacetamide-induced acute liver failure is not mediated by endogenous benzodiazepines.

BACKGROUND: To distinguish whether the improvement of hepatic encephalopathy by benzodiazepine receptor antagonists is mediated by their antagonistic or their inverse agonistic properties, the neurobehavioral effects of a variety of benzodiazepine receptor ligands in rats with thioacetamide-induced acute liver failure were tested. METHODS: The neural inhibitory effect of the benzodiazepine agonist flunitrazepam and its reversibility by the "pure" antagonist Ro 14-7437 were examined in thioacetamide-treated rats and controls. The effects of Ro 14-7437, of the partial inverse agonist Ro 15-4513, and the inverse agonist DMCM in rats with hepatic encephalopathy grade II/III were tested. Encephalopathic rats were pretreated with Ro 14-7437 or vehicle and then injected with Ro 15-4513. RESULTS: Thioacetamide-treated rats were more sensitive to flunitrazepam than controls. In both groups, its effect was completely antagonized with Ro 14-7437. Encephalopathy was significantly improved by Ro 15-4513, although Ro 14-7437 and vehicle had no effect. DMCM worsened the condition of encephalopathic rats but had no effect in controls. Pretreatment with Ro 14-7437 abolished the beneficial effects of Ro 15-4513. CONCLUSIONS: In rats with thioacetamide-induced liver failure, endogenous benzodiazepines do not precipitate hepatic encephalopathy. The amelioration of hepatic encephalopathy is mediated by benzodiazepine receptor ligands with both antagonistic and inverse agonistic properties.[1]


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