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Abstract

Fatty livers are more sensitive to the deleterious effects of ischemia-reperfusion than normal livers. Nutritional status greatly modulates this injury in normal livers, but its role in the specific setting of fatty liver is unknown. This study aimed to determine the effect of nutritional status on warm ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat fatty livers. Fed and fasted rats with normal or fatty liver induced by a choline deficient diet underwent 1 hour of lobar ischemia and reperfusion. Rat survival was determined for 7 days. Serum transaminases, liver histology and cell ultrastructure were assessed before and after ischemia, and at 30 minutes, 2 hours, 8 hours, and 24 hours after reperfusion. Survival was also determined in fatty fasted rats supplemented with glucose before surgery. The preischemic hepatic glycogen was measured in all groups. Whereas survival was similar in fasted and fed rats with normal liver (90% vs. 100%), fasting dramatically reduced survival in rats with fatty liver (14% vs. 64%, P < .01). Accordingly, fasting and fatty degeneration had a synergistic effect in exacerbating liver injury. Mitochondrial damage was a predominant feature of ultrastructural hepatocyte injury in fasted fatty livers. Glucose supplementation partially prevented the fasting-induced depletion of glycogen and improved the 7-day rat survival to 45%. These data indicate that rat fatty livers exposed to normothermic ischemia-reperfusion injury are much more sensitive to fasting than histologically normal livers. Because glucose supplementation improves both the hepatic glycogen stores and the rat survival, a nutritional repletion procedure may be part of a treatment strategy aimed to prevent ischemia-reperfusion injury in fatty livers