Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis induces non-fibrosis-related portal hypertension associated with splanchnic vasodilation and signs of a hyperdynamic circulation **in vitro** and **in vivo** in a rat model
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Liver international. - Copenhagen
, p. 365-375
University of Antwerp
Introduction: Steatosis, without fibrosis, may lead to changes in liver blood flow, which are poorly understood, and to date have not been correlated to portal pressure and related haemodynamics. Aims: To study the temporal relation between progressive steatosis, portal pressure, systemic haemodynamics, vascular responsiveness, mesenteric and portal blood flow in methioninecholine-deficient diet (MCDD)-fed rats. Methods: Male Wistar rats fed the MCDD were examined at week (w) 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, respectively, including systemic haemodynamics and portal pressure. At w0-4-8, in vivo blood flow was measured in the portal vein and the superior mesenteric artery. Doseresponse curves to phenylephrine (PE) were established in abdominal aortic rings. Results: Histology showed 100% steatosis from w3 on. Fibrosis was absent. Significant inflammation was nearly absent upon w4. Portal pressure slightly increased at w2, reached a maximum at w4 [9.4 ± 0.3 vs 2.9 ± 0.6 mmHg at w0 (P=0.003)] and remained stable upon w8. Mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) decreased from w2 on [98.7 ± 5.7 mmHg on w4 compared with 123.8 ± 1.8 on w0 (P=0.002)]. Portal flow increased from 1.85 ± 0.11 to 3.07 ± 0.44 ml/min/100 g on w0 and w8 respectively (P=0.039). Mesenteric artery flow increased from 3.40 ± 0.26 to 4.56 ± 0.30 ml/min/100 g on w0 and w8 respectively (P=0.043). Vascular responsiveness to PE gradually decreased from 138 ± 3% on w0 to 110 ± 5% on w4 (P=0.013). Conclusion: Steatohepatitis induces significant portal hypertension (PHT) in the absence of fibrosis, associated with an increase in mesenteric arterial and portal venous flow, arterial hyporesponsiveness to vasoconstrictors and a decrease in MABP, indicating the presence of splanchnic vasodilation and hyperdynamic circulation. These alterations resemble those seen in cirrhotic PHT.