A new method to monitor Kupffer cell phagocytosis continuously in perfused rat liver

Authors

  • Patricia E. Ganey,

    1. Laboratory of Hepatobiology and Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology and Curriculum in Toxicologya, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599–7365
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  • Barbara Keller,

    1. Laboratory of Hepatobiology and Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology and Curriculum in Toxicologya, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599–7365
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  • Steven N. Lichtman,

    1. Department of Pediatricsa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599–7365
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  • John J. Lemasters,

    1. Laboratories for Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599–7365
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  • Dr. Ronald G. Thurman

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Hepatobiology and Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology and Curriculum in Toxicologya, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599–7365
    • Laboratory of Hepatobiology and Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology, CB #7365, Faculty Laboratory Office Building, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7365
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Abstract

A new method was developed to monitor Kupffer cell phagocytosis continuously in perfused liver using a fluorescent probe, rhodamine-gelatin, synthesized from gelatin and rhodamine isothiocyanate. In perfused rat liver, phagocytosis by Kupffer cells was assessed both by uptake of the dye and from fluorescence measured from the liver surface. Uptake of rhodamine-gelatin and surface fluorescence (520 → 585 nm) increased as perfusate concentrations of rhodamine-gelatin were elevated. Histological examination revealed that fluorescence caused by rhodamine-gelatin was concentrated in cells lining the sinusoid. Furthermore, when hepatic parenchymal, endothelial and Kupffer cells were isolated by centrifugal elutriation after pretreatment in vivo with rhodamine-gelatin, the fluorescent label was detected nearly exclusively in the Kupffer cell fraction. Fluorescence of rhodamine-gelatin from the liver surface was directly proportional to uptake of rhodamine-gelatin, indicating that measurement of surface fluorescence could be used as an index of phagocytic activity of Kupffer cells. Uptake of rhodamine-gelatin and fluorescent labeling of sinusoidal cells were inhibited nearly completely by dextran sulfate, which decreases phagocytic activity, and were increased by about 50% by pretreatment with endotoxin, which stimulates phagocytosis. This new method was combined with standard procedures to monitor parenchymal cell function (e.g., oxygen uptake and release of lactate dehydrogenase), Kupffer cell phagocytic activity and parenchymal cell injury simultaneously during perfusion with the hepatotoxicant allyl alcohol. Activation of phagocytosis by Kupffer cells monitored by rhodamine-gelatin fluorescence occurred within 5 min of addition of allyl alcohol. On the other hand, parenchymal cell injury, assessed from release of lactate dehydrogenase, did not begin until 40 min and reached maximal values at around 90 min. Thus stimulation of Kupffer cell phagocytic activity preceded parenchymal cell injury during exposure to allyl alcohol. Moreover, parenchymal cell injury caused by allyl alcohol was enhanced by pretreatment with endotoxin, suggesting that release of toxic mediators from Kupffer cells participates in the mechanism of toxicity caused by allyl alcohol. This new method makes it possible to monitor function and viability of Kupffer and parenchymal cells simultaneously during exposure to toxic agents in perfused liver. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:567–574.)

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