Generation of a Rat Model of Acute Liver Failure by Combining 70% Partial Hepatectomy and Acetaminophen

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Acute liver failure (ALF) is a clinical condition caused by various etiologies resulting in the loss of metabolic, biochemical, synthesizing, and detoxifying functions of the liver. In most irreversible liver damage cases, orthotropic liver transplant (OLT) remains the only available treatment. To study the therapeutic potential of a treatment for ALF, its prior testing in an animal model of ALF is essential. In the current study, an ALF model in rats was developed by combining 70% partial hepatectomy (PHx) and injections of acetaminophen (APAP) that provides a therapeutic window of 48 h. The median and left lateral lobes of the liver were removed to excise 70% of the liver mass and APAP was given 24 h postsurgically for 2 days. Survival in ALF-induced animals was found to be severely decreased. The development of ALF was confirmed by altered serum levels of the enzymes alanine amino transferase (ALT), aspartate amino transferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP); changes in prothrombin time (PT); and assessment of the international normalized ratio (INR). Study of the gene expression profile by qPCR revealed an increase in expression levels of genes involved in apoptosis, inflammation, and in the progression of liver injury. Diffused degeneration of hepatocytes and infiltration of immune cells was observed by histological evaluation. The reversibility of ALF was confirmed by the restoration of survival and serum levels of ALT, AST, and ALP after intrasplenic transplantation of syngeneic healthy rat hepatocytes. This model presents a reliable alternative to the available ALF animal models to study the pathophysiology of ALF as well as to evaluate the potential of a novel therapy for ALF. The use of two different approaches also makes it possible to study the combined effect of physical and drug-induced liver injury. The reproducibility and feasibility of current procedure is an added benefit of the model.