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Abstract

Mitochondrial and cytosolic functions were studied in vivo and in perfused livers from rats with secondary biliary cirrhosis induced by bile duct ligation for 5 wk and in sham-operated controls. The livers were stereo-logically analyzed, and mitochondrial and cytosolic functions were related to liver structure. Oxygen consumption by perfused livers expressed per stereo-logically determined mitochondrial volume was decreased by 49% in bile duct—ligated rats compared with control rats. Glucose production (expressed per mitochondrial volume) was reduced by more than 90% in bile duct ligation, whereas urea production was not affected. Lactate production, a cytosolic function, was increased fivefold in bile duct ligation, and both the lactate/pyruvate and the β-hydroxybutyrate/acetoacetate ratios were increased in the liver perfusate of bile duct—ligated rats. In comparison with control rats, the stereologically determined mitochondrial volume fraction per hepatocyte was increased by 28% in bile duct—ligated rats. Activities of mitochondrial enzymes expressed per area of mitochondrial membrane or per mitochondrial volume were either unchanged (ATPase, cytochrome c oxidase and glutamate dehydrogenase) or decreased (monoamine oxidase) in bile duct ligation. Thus in comparison with control rats, mitochondrial metabolism is impaired in perfused livers from bile duct—ligated rats; increased mitochondrial volume per hepatocyte may represent a strategy to maintain hepatic energy metabolism in rats with secondary biliary cirrhosis. (HEPATOLOGY 1992;15:1167-1172).