Hepatocytes do not express Bcl-2, a represser of apoptosis. In contrast, cholangiocytes, which are in direct contact with bile, do express Bcl-2. Because cholestasis results in the retention of bile within hepatocytes, we reasoned cholestasis may induce hepatocellular expression of Bcl-2. Thus our aim was to determine whether hepatocytes express Bcl-2 or alter expression of other Bcl-2 family members in cholestasis using the bile duct-ligated (BDL) rat as a model of cholestasis. De novo Bcl-2 expression was observed in hepatocytes of BDL rats assessed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunoblot analysis. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that Bcl- 2 expression in hepatocytes was greater in periportal hepatocytes than pericentral hepatocytes. Expression of Bcl-x (an antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein) was not altered by bile duct ligation, whereas expression of Bax (a proapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein) increased slightly as determined by Northern and Western blot analyses. Bcl-2-positive hepatocytes isolated from BDL rats were resistant to induction of apoptosis by 50 μM glycochenodeoxycholate. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, expression of Bcl-2 by hepatocytes during cholestasis. We suggest that hepatocellular expression of Bcl-2 during cholestasis is an adaptive phenomenon to resist apoptosis by toxic bile salts.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology|
|Issue number||6 35-6|
|State||Published - Jun 1997|
- Bile salts
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)