Original Article

Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 1458-1464

First online:

Expression of Urotensin II and Its Receptor in Human Liver Cirrhosis and Fulminant Hepatic Failure

  • Ludger LeifeldAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Evangelisches Krankenhaus Köln-Kalk Email author 
  • , Christoph ClemensAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn
  • , Jörg HellerAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn
  • , Jonel TrebickaAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn
  • , Tilman SauerbruchAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn
  • , Ulrich SpenglerAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine I, University of Bonn

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Abstract

Objectives

Urotensin II [U-II] plasma levels are increased in liver cirrhosis [LC] and are discussed as an important mediator of portal hypertension since the U-II antagonist palosuran has beneficial effects on portal hypertension by increasing splanchnic resistance. Nevertheless, no data are available on the intrahepatic expression of U-II and its receptor [UT] in humans.

Methods

U-II and UT expression were analyzed in the livers of patients with LC, fulminant hepatic failure [FHF], and normal controls [NC] using immunohistochemistry.

Results

Both U-II and UT were expressed in the liver on endothelial cells from arteries, veins, and bile ducts as well as on Kupffer cells. In LC, the total number of U-II-expressing cells was 20% lower compared to NC (P < 0.001), while expression of UT did not differ between LC and NC. In contrast, significant enhanced number of U-II and UT positive cells were found in FHF compared to LC and NC (P < 0.001). U-II and UT expression was also found in portal veins, without differences between LC and NC.

Conclusions

Our data demonstrate that U-II and UT are not elevated in human cirrhotic livers but are in livers of patients with FHF.

Keywords

Portal hypertension Liver cirrhosis Fulminant hepatic failure Hepatitis Urotensin