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Keywords:

  • hepatic stimulator substance -injury;
  • liver;
  • regeneration;
  • thioacetamide

Abstract: Aims/Background: Hepatic stimulator substance (HSS) is a known hepatic growth factor which appears to be organ-specific but species non-specific. We have recently shown that the administration of HSS enhanced hepatocyte proliferation occurring due to thioacetamide (TAA)-induced liver injury in rats (Theocharis SE, et al., Scand J Gastroenterol 1998; 33: 656–63). In the present study, we examined the activity of the endogenously produced HSS in the liver of TAA administered rats during injury and regeneration. Methods: TAA at a dose of 300 mg/kg of body weight was injected intraperitoneally in male Wistar rats. The animals were sacrificed at 0, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72 h after TAA administration. The rate of tritiated thymidine incorporation into hepatic DNA, the enzymatic activity of liver thymidine kinase and the assessment of mitotic index in hepatocytes were used to estimate liver regeneration. HSS extract was obtained from the livers of TAA-treated rats, sacrificed at the above mentioned time points. This HSS extract was injected in 34% partially hepatectomized rats, to assess its activity. The ability of the injected HSS extract to increase hepatocellular proliferation over that normally occurring 24 h following 34% partial hepatectomy was used to express the activity of HSS by determining the above mentioned indices of liver regeneration. Results: The administration of TAA caused severe hepatic injury recognized histopathologically as well as by the increased activities of serum hepatic enzymes aspartate and alanine aminotrasferases. The hepatic injury, which peaked at 24 and 36 h post-TAA treatment (p<0.001), was followed by hepatocyte proliferation, presenting peaks at 48 and 60 h (p<0.001). The activity of the endogenously produced HSS from livers of TAA-treated rats increased at 36 h after TAA administration as well as being highly expressed at 48 and 60 h thus coinciding with the peak of hepatocyte proliferation. At other time points, HSS activity was decreased. Conclusions: The observed variations of HSS activity in rat liver suggest active participation of this growth factor in hepatocyte replication which follows toxin-induced liver injury as a repair mechanism process.