Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 1458–1464

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

  • Ludger Leifeld
  • Christoph Clemens
  • Jörg Heller
  • Jonel Trebicka
  • Tilman Sauerbruch
  • Ulrich Spengler
Original Article



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.


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


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.


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


Portal hypertension Liver cirrhosis Fulminant hepatic failure Hepatitis Urotensin 



Fulminant hepatic failure


Liver cirrhosis


Normal controls


Urotensin II


Urotensin receptor


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ludger Leifeld
    • 1
  • Christoph Clemens
    • 2
  • Jörg Heller
    • 2
  • Jonel Trebicka
    • 2
  • Tilman Sauerbruch
    • 2
  • Ulrich Spengler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineEvangelisches Krankenhaus Köln-KalkCologneGermany
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine IUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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