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

Expression of liver-specific functions in rat hepatocytes following sublethal and lethal acetaminophen poisoning.

AIM: In order to study the short-term effect of moderate and severe reduction of liver function by acetaminophen poisoning of different severity on gene expression for liver-specific functions, rats were given 3.75 and 7.5 g per kg body weight acetaminophen intragastrically. The lower dose is associated with low mortality; after the higher dose, most rats die at between 12 and 24 h. METHODS: In the morning, 1 1/2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 h after the injection, the rats were killed and RNA was extracted from liver tissue. By slot-blot hybridization mRNA steady-state levels were determined for enzymes involved in metabolic liver functions, i.e. ureagenesis, gluconeogenesis, and drug metabolism, for acute phase proteins, "house-keeping" proteins, and for proteins related to liver regeneration. Results were expressed as per cent of the level in similarly fasted, untreated rats of the same stock RESULTS: After the smaller dose of acetaminophen, most of the examined mRNA levels were increasing during the experimental period, being two- to four-fold elevated in relation to control after 6 to 12 h. Rats receiving the lethal dose either showed no or a later and smaller increase, and in several cases a fall towards the end of the experiment. The greatest differences were seen for mRNA of arginase, beta-fibrinogen, alpha 1-acid glycoprotein, alpha-tubulin, histone 3, TGF beta, and cyclin d, i.e. proteins associated with acute phase response and liver cell replication and maintenance. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that reversible intoxication with acetaminophen induces an adaptive modulation of mRNA expression of liver functions and regeneration which is lacking after severe intoxication. This adaptation, with emphasis on acute phase response and regeneration, may be crucial for recovery after acetaminophen intoxication. If this also applies to the intoxication in man, estimates of the corresponding variables may be clues to the prognosis of acetaminophen-induced fulminant hepatic failure.[1]


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