Inflammation Research

, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 609–616 | Cite as

Impaired cell functions of hepatocytes incubated with plasma of septic patients

  • Martin Sauer
  • Cristof Haubner
  • Thomas Mencke
  • Gabriele Nöldge-Schomburg
  • Steffen Mitzner
  • Jens Altrichter
  • Jan Stange
Original Research Paper


Objective and design

The development of liver failure is a major problem in septic patients. In this prospective clinical experimental study the hepatotoxicity of plasma from septic and non-septic patients was tested.

Methods and subjects

The basic test components consist of human liver cells (HepG2/C3A) used in a standardized microtiter plate assay. After incubation with patient’s plasma viability of cells (XTT-test), the cytochrome 1A2 activity and synthesis of micro albumin were measured. Subjects (28) enrolled comprise the septic shock group (SSG, n = 10), the non-septic group (NSG, n = 5) and the healthy volunteers group (HVG, n = 13).


The 28-day mortality was 30% in the SSG. The APACHE II-, SOFA-, and SAPS-scores and the values of bilirubin and prothrombin time as INR were significantly higher in the SSG than in the NSG. The cytochrome 1A2 activity and the release of albumin were significantly reduced in HepG2/C3A cells incubated with plasma of the SSG (p < 0.05). The cytochrome 1A2 activities were higher in survivors compared to non-survivors at the time point 0 and were increasing in survivors and decreasing in non-survivors within 54 h in the SSG. In the SSG there was a significant decrease in IL-10 and IL-8 between inclusion and 54 h. Values of IL-6, TNF alpha and IL-10 were significantly lower in the NSG compared with the values of the SSG at inclusion and after 54 h.


The plasma of patients with septic shock impaired cellular functions of HepG2/C3A cells.


Biosensing techniques Cytotoxicity Hepatocytes Inflammation Liver failure 





Acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (score)


Activated partial thromboplastin time




American type culture collection


C-reactive protein


Indocyanine green


Intensive care unit




International normalized ratio






Systemic inflammatory response syndrom


Simplified acute physiology score


Standard error of mean


Sepsis-related organ failure assessment (score)


Tumor necrosis factor



The authors want to thank Mrs Heike Potschka and Mrs Helga Weiss-Reining for valuable technical support. A special thank to Mrs Maren Siekmöller for her help for creating the test and to Mr Hans-Peter Deigner for the critical reviewing of the paper. The study was supported by research grants of the University of Rostock.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors has any conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Sauer
    • 1
  • Cristof Haubner
    • 1
  • Thomas Mencke
    • 1
  • Gabriele Nöldge-Schomburg
    • 1
  • Steffen Mitzner
    • 2
  • Jens Altrichter
    • 2
  • Jan Stange
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care MedicineUniversity of RostockRostockGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Medical FacultyUniversity of RostockRostockGermany

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