“Background/aims: Biliary glutathione is an important generator of the bile-salt independent flow, and is known to be regulated by the hepatic glutathione availability. We investigated, in an acute model of phalloidin-induced cholestasis, biliary glutathione secretion and the role of hepatic glutathione, oxidative stress, and protein kinase c activation, which have been implicated in many hepatotoxin-induced hepatic dysfunctions.

Methods: Rats were given a single dose of 80 microg/100 g body weight of phalloidin and the hepatic thiols and glutathione content, redox state and vesicular activity were evaluated during both development of and recovery from cholestasis. The prophylactic effect of N-acetylcysteine (a precursor of glutathione synthesis and an antioxidant) was also examined. In addition, in the isolated perfused rat liver, we studied the prophylactic effect of the PKc inhibitor H7 on phalloidin-induced cholestasis.

Results: In the early stages of cholestasis, phalloidin induced a decline in bile flow, mainly related to a disruption of biliary glutathione secretion. The decline in biliary glutathione content was not associated with increased glutathione degradation, indicated by a parallel decline in biliary non-protein thiols and by the lack of an increase in biliary gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. There was also no evidence of hepatic depletion of glutathione or of oxidative stress, as measured by the oxidized-to-reduced glutathione ratio. Moreover, phalloidin resulted in inhibition of vascular transcytosis as assessed by horseradish peroxidase labeling. Pre-treatment with N-acetylcysteine did not counteract the decline in biliary glutathione secretion and bile flow produced by phalloidin, supporting the view that the hepatic availability of glutathione and oxidative stress injury are not implicated in the early stages of cholestatic injury. Moreover, treatment with H-7 did not alter the biliary glutathione output, or the decline in bile flow induced by the toxin.

Conclusions: This study suggests that the phalloidin-induced inhibition of bile formation may be attributed to rapid disruption of the hepatocanalicular transport of glutathione.” Click here for access to this published study.

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