Evidence for enhanced secretory function of hepatic macrophages after long-term ethanol feeding in rats


First Department of Internal Medicine Faculty of Medicine University of Tokyo 7–3–1 Hongo Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 113, Japan


ABSTRACT— Rats were pair-fed nutritionally adequate liquid diets, containing ethanol as 36% of energy or an isocaloric amount of carbohydrate for 4–6 weeks. Ruffle formation of hepatic macrophages in the periportal area observed with a transmission electron microscope (which reflects their extent in activation) was more remarkable in ethanol-fed rats than in control rats. The ability of hepatic macrophages to produce superoxide anions assessed in situ by formazan deposition after liver perfusion with nitro-blue tetrazolium and phorbol myristate acetate was enhanced after such ethanol feeding. A similar result was seen 24 h after withdrawal of ethanol feeding. These findings suggest that long-term ethanol consumption may activate hepatic macrophages in secretory function.