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Sepsis: pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic signals in liver cells


Our aim was to investigate the role of the expression of pro-apoptotic genes: Bax, Cytochrome-C, Caspase-8 and anti-apoptotic gene bcl-2 in liver cells of septic rats.

Materials and methods

Sepsis was induced using the cecal ligation and puncture model in 62 adult Wistar rats. The rats were sacrificed at 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 hours after the induction of sepsis. A control group of 20 rats was used. Liver tissue was obtained from each rat and the expression of Bax, Cytochrome-C, Caspase-8 and Bcl-2 proteins was detected using the immunohistochemical streptavidin–biotin method.


The expression of both Bcl-2 and Bax proteins was found decreased in liver cells of septic rats (50% and 50.8%, respectively) compared to the controls (80%, P = 0.02 and 85%, P = 0.008, respectively), while cytochrome-c (P = 0.9) and caspase-8 (P = 0.05) expression did not differ significantly between septic and control rats. In addition, the expression of all the pro-apoptotic genes: Bax, caspase-8 and cytochrome-c was maximum in liver cells of septic rats in the hyperdynamic phase of sepsis (first 12 hours) and gradually decreased in the hypodynamic phase (P < 0.05).


We demonstrate that the expression of regulating of apoptosis genes: bcl-2 and bax, is inhibited in liver cells sepsis and that the expression of executors of programmed cell death in liver cells: caspase-8 and cytochrome-c genes is time dependent in sepsis, with maximum values in the hyperdynamic phase.

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Chatzigianni, E., Messaris, E., Memos, N. et al. Sepsis: pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic signals in liver cells. Crit Care 6 (Suppl 1), P77 (2002).

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