Involvement of intrasinusoidal hemostasis in the development of concanavalin a–induced hepatic injury in mice



Concanavalin A (Con A) stimulation induces T-cell activation–associated hepatic injury. This study is designed to show the involvement of microcirculatory disturbance in the pathogenesis. Con A administration led to prominent intrasinusoidal hemostasis, which consisted of erythrocyte agglutination, lymphocyte/neutrophil sticking to endothelial cells, and platelet aggregation and degranulation, resulting in a marked decrease in the intrahepatic blood flow and elevation of portal perfusion pressure. After hemostasis, confluent hepatic necrosis occurred within the congested area of liver parenchyma. Reduction in the extent of hemostasis by the treatment with heparin (thrombin inhibitor) or cyproheptadine (serotonin inhibitor) decreased hepatic injury. Pretreatment with either anti–tumor necrosis factor alfa (TNF-α) or anti–interferon gamma (IFN-γ) monoclonal antibody (MAb) moderately decreased hemostasis and hepatic injury, whereas combined use of two MAbs almost perfectly protected mice from these disorders. Complete obliteration of hemostasis and hepatic injury was also accomplished by the pretreatment with FK506 which suppressed TNF-α and IFN-γ production. Intrasinusoidal accumulation of leukocytes and platelets was, however, not blocked by FK506, indicating that Con A activities other than the stimulation of cytokine production are responsible for this event. The administration of anti-CD3 MAb, a T-cell stimulant without agglutination activities, which elevated plasma cytokine levels in a comparable degree without inducing prominent leukocyte infiltration, did not induce hepatic congestion and injury. These findings indicate that the agglutination activities of Con A and T-cell activation mediated TNF-α/IFN-γ production are both required for the induction of intrasinusoidal hemostasis, which is indispensable for the development of hepatic injury.