Functional and ultrastructural features of ethanol/bile salts interaction in the isolated perfused rat liver

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Abstract

We investigated whether bile salts (BS) with different hydrophobic-hydrophilic properties interact with ethanol on bile secretion, enzyme (aspartate transaminase [AST], lactate dehydrogenase [LDH]) release in the perfusate, liver ultrastructure, and vesicular exocytosis in the isolated perfused rat liver. Ethanol (0.1 or 1%) promoted a rapid decrease of bile flow and BS secretion in livers perfused with taurocholate (TCA), the physiologic BS in the rat (−28% decrease of baseline values with 0.1% and −34% with 1% ethanol). The inhibitory effect of ethanol on bile flow and BS secretion was significantly (P < .02) attenuated by perfusing liver with the hydrophilic BS, tauroursodeoxycholate (TUDCA), and it was exacerbated (P < .02) by perfusion with the hydrophobic BS, taurodeoxycholate (TDCA). The release of AST and LDH in the perfusate was unaffected by 0.1% ethanol, but increased threefold to fivefold by 1% ethanol in TCA-perfused livers. This cytolitic effect of ethanol was not observed in TUDCA-perfused livers, but it was enhanced (P < .03) by perfusion with TDCA. No ultrastructural abnormalities were found in either TCA- or TUDCA-perfused livers, with or without 1% ethanol. Only minimal changes were found in livers perfused with TDCA alone, but, in the presence of TDCA, 1% ethanol induces marked mitochondrial damage. The biliary excretion of the fluid phase marker horseradish peroxidase was inhibited by ethanol, an effect reversed by TUDCA (P < .02) and exacerbated by TDCA (P < .04). In conclusion, this study demonstrates that hydrophilic BS such as TUDCA counteract the inhibitory effect of ethanol on bile secretion and vesicular exocytosis as well as the ethanol-induced cytolitic effect in the isolated perfused rat liver. In the presence of hydrophobic BS such as TDCA, the exposure to ethanol promotes a marked inhibition of bile secretion and vesicular exocytosis as well as prominent mitochondrial damage. (HEPATOLOGY 1995; 21:1120–1129.)

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