Hepatic inflammatory mediators contribute to intestinal damage in necrotizing enterocolitis

Melissa D. Halpern, Hana Holubec, Jessica A. Dominguez, Yolanda G. Meza, Catherine S. Williams, Miriam C. Ruth, Robert S. McCuskey, Bohuslav Dvorak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a common and devastating gastrointestinal disease of premature infants. Along with pathological effects in the ileum, severe NEC is often accompanied by mutisystem organ failure, including liver failure. The aim of this study was to determine the changes in hepatic cytokines and inflammatory mediators in experimental NEC. The well-established neonatal rat model of NEC was used in this study, and changes in liver morphology, numbers of Kupffer cells (KC), gene expression, and histological localization of IL-18, TNF-α, and inducible nitric oxide synthase were evaluated. Intestinal luminal TNF-α levels were also measured. Production of hepatic IL-18 and TNF-α and numbers of KC were increased in rats with NEC and correlated with the progression of intestinal damage during NEC development. Furthermore, increased levels of TNF-α in the intestinal lumen of rats with NEC was significantly decreased when KC were inhibited with gadolinium chloride. These results suggest an important role of the liver and the gut-liver axis in NEC pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G695-G702
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4 47-4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Gut-liver axis
  • Inflammation
  • Neonatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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