Significance of Fas Antigen-Mediated Apoptosis in Human Fulminant Hepatic Failure

Ryo, Kyouka; Kamogawa, Yumiko; Ikeda, Ikuo; Yamauchi, Katsumi; Yonehara, Shin; Nagata, Shigekazu; Hayashi, Naoaki
August 2000
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Aug2000, Vol. 95 Issue 8, p2047
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of apoptosis in human fulminant hepatic failure. We studied the expression of Fas antigen on liver tissues. Fas ligand in lymphocytes, and soluble Fas ligand in patients' serum. METHODS: On finding apoptotic cells in fulminant hepatic failure liver, we first examined them using the TUNEL method. Subsequently, the expression of Fas was studied by immunostaining. Simultaneously, Fas ligand presenting on both liver-infiltrated cells and peripheral lymphocytes was studied by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and soluble Fas ligand in sera was measured by ELISA. RESULTS: By using the TUNEL method, we first demonstrated that many apoptotic cells existed in fulminant hepatic failure but not in normal ones. Our immunohistochemistry study showed that many hepatocytes in fulminant hepatic failure strongly expressed Fas. In addition, Fas ligand on both liver-infiltrating lymphocytes and peripheral lymphocytes in fulminant hepatic failure patients was detected. The serum level of soluble Fas ligand was significantly increased in fulminant hepatic failure (mean value. 2.91 ng/ml in fulminant hepatic failure (n = 10], 1.62 ng/ml in acute hepatitis [n = 10], and 0.27 ng/ml in healthy controls [n = 10]). Furthermore, this serum level of sFas ligand was significantly associated with prothrombin time both in acute hepatitis and fulminant hepatic failure. CONCLUSIONS: The present results indicate that Fas-mediated apoptosis may be one of the triggers for the induction of fulminant hepatic failure.


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