Mast cell-mediated splanchnic cholestatic inflammation

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Introduction Splanchnic mast cells increase in chronic liver and in acute-on-chronic liver diseases. We administered Ketotifen, a mast cell stabilizer, and measured the mast cells in the splanchnic organs of cholestatic rats. Material and Methods These groups were studied: sham-operated rats (S; n = 15), untreated microsurgical cholestasic rats (C; n = 20) and rats treated with Ketotifen: early (SK-e; n = 20 and CKe; n = 18), and late (SK-l; n = 15 and CK-l; n = 14). Results The cholestatic rats showed systemic and splanchnic impairments, such as ascites, portal hypertension, and biliary proliferation and fibrosis. The rats also showed a splanchnic increase of TNF-α, IL-1β and MCP-1, and a reduction of IL-4, IL-10 and antioxidants. An increase of VEGF in the ileum and mesenteric lymphatic complex was associated with a liver reduction of TGF-β1. Ketotifen reduces the degree of hepatic insufficiency and the splanchnic inflammatory mediators, as well as VEGF and TGF-ß1 levels. Ketotifen also reduces the connective tissue mast cells in the mesenteric lymphatic complex of cholestatic rats, while increases the hepatic mucosal mast cells. Conclusions In cholestatic rats, Ketotifen improves liver function and ascites, and also reduces pro-inflammatory mediators in the splanchnic area. The decrease in connective tissue mast cells in the mesenteric lymphatic complex due to the administration of Ketotifen would lead to the improvement of the inflammatory splanchnic response, and consequently the abovementioned complications.