alexa Blood–Brain Barrier Permeability for Ammonia in Patients with Different Grades of Liver Fibrosis is Not Different from Healthy Controls
Clinical Research

Clinical Research

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Transplantation

Author(s): A Goldbecker, Ralph Buchert, Georg Berding, Martin Bokemeyer, Ralf Lichtinghagen, Karin Weissenborn

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Increased blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability for ammonia is considered to be an integral part of the pathophysiology of hepatic encephalopathy (HE) in patients with liver cirrhosis. Increased glutamate-/glutamine-signal intensity in magnetic resonance spectroscopic studies of the brain in cirrhotic patients was explained as a consequence of increased cerebral ammonia uptake. As similar spectroscopic alterations are present in patients with liver fibrosis, we hypothesized that BBB permeability for ammonia is already increased in liver fibrosis, and thereby contributing to the development of HE. To test this hypothesis, cerebral perfusion and ammonia metabolism were examined through positron emission tomography with 15O-water, respectively, 13N-ammonia in patients with Ishak grades 2 and 4 fibrosis, cirrhosis, and healthy controls. There were neither global nor regional differences of cerebral blood flow, the rate constant of unidirectional transport of ammonia from blood into brain tissue, the permeability surface area product of the BBB for ammonia, the net metabolic clearance rate constant of ammonia from blood into glutamine in brain, or the metabolic rate of ammonia. The hypothesis that increased permeability of the BBB for ammonia in patients with liver fibrosis contributes to the later development of HE could not be supported by this study.

This article was published in J Cereb Blood Flow Metab and referenced in Journal of Clinical and Experimental Transplantation

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