Published online Dec 14, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.7093
Revised: October 1, 2008
Accepted: October 8, 2008
Published online: December 14, 2008
AIM: To investigate the molecular events involved in liver regeneration following subtotal hepatectomy (SH) as previous studies have largely focused on partial hepatectomy (PH).
METHODS: Male Wistar rats were subjected to 70% PH or 90% SH, respectively, and sacrificed at different times after surgery. Untreated and sham-operated animals served as controls. Serum and liver samples were obtained to investigate liver function, apoptosis (TUNEL assay) and transcription factors (NF-κB, Stat3; ELISA) or cytokines (HGF, TNF-α, IL-6, TGF-α, TGF-β; quantitative RT-PCR) involved in liver regeneration.
RESULTS: Serum levels of ALT and AST in animals with 70% PH differed significantly from sham-operated and control animals. We found that the peak concentration 12 h after surgery returned to control levels 7 d after surgery. LDH was increased only at 12 h after 70% PH compared to sham. Bilirubin showed no differences between the sham and 70% resection. After PH, early NF-κB activation was detected 12 h after surgery (313.21 ± 17.22 ng/mL), while there was no activation after SH (125.22 ± 44.36 ng/mL) compared to controls (111.43 ± 32.68 ng/mL) at this time point. In SH, however, NF-κB activation was delayed until 24 h (475.56 ± 144.29 ng/mL). Stat3 activation was similar in both groups. These findings correlated with suppressed and delayed induction of regenerative genes after SH (i.e. TNF-α 24 h postoperatively: 2375 ± 1220 in 70% and 88 ± 31 in 90%; IL-6 12 h postoperatively: 2547 ± 441 in 70% and 173 ± 82 in 90%). TUNEL staining revealed elevated apoptosis rates in SH (0.44% at 24 h; 0.63% at 7 d) compared to PH (0.27% at 24 h; 0.15% at 7 d).
CONCLUSION: The molecular events involved in liver regeneration are significantly influenced by the extent of resection as SH leads to suppression and delay of liver regeneration compared to PH, which is associated with delayed activation of NF-κB and suppression of proregenerative cytokines.