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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Scientific Reports
Volume (Issue) 10(1)
Page(s) 7536 - 7536
Title of proceedings Scientific Reports
DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-64416-3

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Type C hepatic encephalopathy (type C HE) is increasingly suspected in children with chronic liver disease (CLD), and believed to underlie long-term neurocognitive difficulties. The molecular underpinnings of type C HE in both adults and children are incompletely understood. In the present study we combined the experimental advantages of in vivo high field 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy with immunohistochemistry to follow longitudinally over 8 weeks the neurometabolic changes in the hippocampus of animals having undergone bile duct ligation as pups. Rats who develop CLD early in life displayed pronounced neurometabolic changes in the hippocampus characterized by a progressive increase in glutamine concentration which correlated with plasma ammonia levels and a rapid decrease in brain myo-inositol. Other neurometabolic findings included a decrease in other organic osmolytes (taurine, choline-containing compounds and creatine), ascorbate and glutamate. At the cellular level, we observed an increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and aquaporin 4 (AQP4) expression in the hippocampus at 4 weeks post bile duct ligation (BDL), together with astrocytic morphological alterations. These findings differ from observations in the brain of adult rats following BDL, and are in keeping with the commonly accepted theory of age-dependent vulnerability.