• hepatic stellate cell;
  • intravital fluorescence microscopy;
  • octreotide;
  • sinusoids;
  • somatostatin


Background and Aims: Chronic liver damage causes hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and contraction, leading to intrahepatic microvascular and structural changes. In vitro endothelin-1 (ET-1)-induced contraction of HSCs can be reduced by somatostatin (SST); however, intrahepatic in vivo effects have never been studied.

Methods: Sinusoidal diameter was measured by intravital fluorescence microscopy in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and control mice before and after an intravenous (IV) bolus and after 0, 5, 10 and 15 min of an IV infusion of saline, 8 μg/kg/h SST or 8 μg/kg/h octreotide.

Results: The baseline sinusoidal diameter in CCl4 mice (3.01±0.05 μm) was significantly smaller than that in controls (4.37±0.06 μm). The sinusoidal diameter increased significantly in both groups after a bolus (27, 16% respectively) and following 5 min of SST IV infusion (28, 14% respectively). The percentage increase was significantly higher in CCl4 mice as compared with controls. This dilatory effect continued for at least 15 min. SST did not influence the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and portal venous inflow. In none of the groups did octreotide or saline have any influence on sinusoidal diameters, MAP and portal venous inflow.

Conclusions: Sinusoidal diameter in cirrhotic mice is significantly smaller than that in controls. SST causes significant sinusoidal dilation following a bolus and for at least 15 min of IV infusion. Octreotide does not have any influence on liver sinusoids. These results demonstrate for the first time the in vivo dilatory effect of SST on liver sinusoids.