The episodes of cerebral dysfunction, known as encephalopathy, are usually coincident with liver failure. The primary metabolic marker of liver diseases is the increase in blood ammonium, which promotes neuronal damage. In the present project, we used an experimental model of hepatic encephalopathy in male rats by portacaval anastomosis (PCA) surgery. Sham rats had a false operation. After 13 weeks of surgery, the most distinctive finding was vacuolar/spongiform neurodegeneration exclusively in the molecular layer of the cerebellum. This cerebellar damage was further characterized by metabolic, histopathological, and behavioral approaches. The results were as follows: (a) Cellular alterations, namely loss of Purkinje cells, morphological changes, such as swelling of astrocytes and Bergmann glia, and activation of microglia; (b) Cytotoxic edema, shown by an increase in aquaporin-4 and N-acetylaspartate and a reduction in taurine and choline-derivate osmolytes; (c) Metabolic adjustments, noted by the elevation of circulating ammonium, enhanced presence of glutamine synthetase, and increase in glutamine and creatine/phosphocreatine; (d) Inflammasome activation, detected by the elevation of the marker NLRP3 and microglial activation; (e) Locomotor deficits in PCA rats as assessed by the Rotarod and open field tests. These results lead us to suggest that metabolic disturbances associated with PCA can generate the cerebellar damage that is similar to morphophysiological modifications observed in amyloidogenic disorders. In conclusion, we have characterized a distinctive cerebellar multi-disruption accompanied by high levels of ammonium and associated with spongiform neurodegeneration in a model of hepatic hypofunctioning.
Última actualización: 30/07/2021