Alterations in expression of genes coding for key astrocytic proteins in acute liver failure.
ABSTRACT Cerebral edema and hepatic encephalopathy are major complications of acute liver failure. Brain herniation caused by increased intracranial pressure as a result of cell swelling is the major cause of death in this condition. Evidence available currently suggests that the rapid accumulation of ammonia by the brain is the major cause of the central nervous system complications of acute liver failure. Increased brain ammonia may cause cell swelling via the osmotic effects of an increase in astrocytic glutamine concentrations or by inhibition of glutamate removal from brain extracellular space. Acute liver failure results in altered expression of several genes in brain, some of which code for important proteins involved in CNS function such as the glucose (GLUT-1) and glutamate (GLT-1) transporters, the astrocytic structural protein glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) the "peripheral-type" benzodiazepine receptor (PTBR) and the water channel protein, aquaporin IV. Loss of expression of GLT-1 results in increased extracellular brain glutamate in acute liver failure. Experimental acute liver failure also results in post-translational modifications of the serotonin and noradrenaline transporters resulting in increased extracellular concentrations of these monoamines. Therapeutic measures currently used to prevent and treat brain edema and encephalopathy in patients with acute liver failure include mild hypothermia and the ammonia-lowering agent L-ornithine-L-aspartate.
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ABSTRACT: Brain edema remains a challenging obstacle in the management of acute liver failure (ALF). Cytotoxic mechanisms associated with brain edema have been well recognized, but evidence for vasogenic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of brain edema in ALF has been lacking. Recent reports have not only shown a role of matrix metalloproteinase-9 in the pathogenesis of brain edema in experimental ALF but have also found significant alterations in the tight junction elements including occludin and claudin-5, suggesting a vasogenic injury in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity. This article reviews and explores the role of the paracellular tight junction proteins in the increased selective BBB permeability that leads to brain edema in ALF.Neurochemistry International 11/2011; 60(7):676-83. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Children with urea cycle disorders (UCDs) or organic acidemias (OAs) and acute hyperammonemia and encephalopathy are at great risk for neurological injury, developmental delay, intellectual disability, and death. Nutritional support, intravenous alternative pathway therapy, and dialysis are used to treat severe hyperammonemia associated with UCDs and nutritional support and dialysis are used to treat severe hyperammonemia in OAs. Brain protective treatment while therapy is initiated may improve neurological and cognitive function for the lifetime of the child. Animal experiments and small clinical trials in hepatic encephalopathy caused by acute liver failure suggest that therapeutic hypothermia provides neuroprotection in hyperammonemia associated encephalopathy. We report results of an ongoing pilot study that assesses if whole body cooling during rescue treatment of neonates with acute hyperammonemia and encephalopathy is feasible and can be conducted safely. Adjunct whole body therapeutic hypothermia was conducted in addition to standard treatment in acutely encephalopathic, hyperammonemic neonates with UCDs and OAs requiring dialysis. Therapeutic hypothermia was initiated using cooling blankets as preparations for dialysis were underway. Similar to standard therapeutic hypothermia treatment for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, patients were maintained at 33.5°C±1°C for 72h, they were then slowly rewarmed by 0.5°C every 3h over 18h. In addition data of age-matched historic controls were collected for comparison. Seven patients were cooled using the pilot study protocol and data of seven historic controls were reviewed. All seven patients survived the initial rescue and cooling treatment, 6 patients were discharged home 2-4weeks after hospitalization, five of them feeding orally. The main complication observed in a majority of patients was hypotension. Adjunct therapeutic hypothermia for neonates with UCDs and OAs receiving standard treatment was feasible and could be conducted safely in pediatric and neonatal intensive care units experienced in the application of therapeutic hypothermia in critically ill neonates. However, including adjunct therapeutic hypothermia in the already involved treatment regimen of critically ill patients with hyperammonemia and encephalopathy adds to the complexity of care and should not be done unless it is proven efficacious in a randomized clinical trial.Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 05/2013; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome that typically develops as a result of acute liver failure or chronic liver disease. Brain edema is a common feature associated with HE. In acute liver failure, brain edema contributes to an increase in intracranial pressure, which can fatally lead to brain stem herniation. In chronic liver disease, intracranial hypertension is rarely observed, even though brain edema may be present. This discrepancy in the development of intracranial hypertension in acute liver failure versus chronic liver disease suggests that brain edema plays a different role in relation to the onset of HE. Furthermore, the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the development of brain edema in acute liver failure and chronic liver disease are dissimilar. This review explores the types of brain edema, the cells, and pathogenic factors involved in its development, while emphasizing the differences in acute liver failure versus chronic liver disease. The implications of brain edema developing as a neuropathological consequence of HE, or as a cause of HE, are also discussed.Neurochemistry International 01/2013; · 2.66 Impact Factor