Liver impairment after portacaval shunt in the rat: The loss of protective role of mast cells?

Maria Angeles Aller, Vicente Martinez, Maria Teresa Corcuera, Javier Benito, Estefania Traver, Fernando Gómez-Aguado, Patri Vergara, Jaime Arias

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Mast cells are involved in various liver diseases and appear to play a broader pathogenic role than originally thought. They may participate in the splanchnic alterations related to a porto-systemic shunt. To verify this hypothesis we studied the serum and hepatic histological changes in rats four weeks after an end-to-side portacaval shunt. In this experimental model of chronic liver insufficiency we also assessed the mucosal mast cells (MMC) and connective tissue mast cells (CTMC) in the liver, mesenteric lymph nodes and small intestine, as well as the serum levels of rat mast cell protease-II (RMCP-II). The results show liver and testes atrophy, with hypoalbuminemia (. p=. 0.0001), hyperbilirubinemia (. p=. 0.0001) and increase in aspartate aminotransferase (. p=. 0.004) and alanine aminotransferase (. p=. 0.0001). Hepatic histopathology demonstrates hepatocytic necrosis and apoptosis, portal inflammation, biliary proliferation, steatosis and fibrosis. There is a decrease of MMCs and CTMCs in the liver, while in the ileum CTMCs increase and MMCs decrease. These results suggest the involvement of mast cells in the pathophysiological splanchnic impairments in this experimental model. In particular, the decreased number of liver mast cells may be associated with the hepatic atrophy. If this is the case, we propose that the disruption of the hepato-intestinal axis after a portocaval shunt in the rat could inhibit the ability of the liver to developing an appropriate repair response mediated by mast cells. © 2011 Elsevier GmbH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-310
JournalActa Histochemica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


  • Cholestasis
  • Fibrosis
  • Mast cell
  • Portacaval shunt
  • Rat
  • Rat mast cell protease II


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