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Hepatic encephalopathy that is associated with severe liver failure may compromise the blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity. However, the effects of less severe liver diseases, in the absence of overt encephalopathy, on the BBB are not well understood. The goal of the current study was to investigate the effects of hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury on the BBB tight junction permeability to small, hydrophilic molecules using the widely used [14C]sucrose and recently-proposed alternative [13C]sucrose as markers. Rats were subjected to 20 min of hepatic ischemia or sham surgery, followed by 8 h of reperfusion before administration of a single bolus dose of [14C] or [13C]sucrose and collection of serial (0–30 min) blood and plasma and terminal brain samples. The concentrations of [14C] and [13C]sucrose in the samples were determined by measurement of total radioactivity (nonspecific) and LC-MS/MS (specific), respectively. IR injury significantly increased the blood, plasma, and brain concentrations of both [14C] and [13C]sucrose. However, when the brain concentrations were corrected for their respective area under the blood concentration-time curve, only [14C]sucrose showed significantly higher (30%) BBB permeability values in the IR animals. Because [13C]sucrose is a more specific BBB permeability marker, these data indicate that our animal model of hepatic IR injury does not affect the BBB tight junction permeability to small, hydrophilic molecules. Methodological differences among studies of the effects of liver diseases on the BBB permeability may confound the conclusions of such studies.


This article was originally published in Metabolic Brain Diseases in 2017. DOI:10.1007/s11011-017-0069-2

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