Bile duct ligation in rats: a reliable model of hepatorenal syndrome?

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jan 7;15(1):121-3. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.121.


The two most widely used experimental models of advanced liver disease are the administration of carbon tetrachloride, and common bile duct ligation (BDL), however, neither has been systematically evaluated as a model of hepatorenal syndrome (HRS). The BDL model in rats, studied at diverse time points, induced a progressive renal dysfunction without structural changes in the kidney. The authors concluded that BDL is a good model for further studies of HRS and its treatment. However, the renal impairment observed at the acute phase of the BDL model is based on a different pathophysiology than that of HRS. Specifically, in acute obstructive jaundice, cholemia predominates over parenchymal liver disease (reversible at this stage without portal hypertension or cirrhosis) and independently induces negative inotropic and chronotropic effects on the heart, impaired sympathetic vasoconstriction response and profound natriuresis and diuresis that might lead to volume depletion. In addition, systemic endotoxemia contributes to the prerenal etiology of renal impairment and promotes direct nephrotoxicity and acute tubular necrosis. On the other hand, the renal failure observed in the chronic BDL model (with development of biliary cirrhosis, portal hypertension and ascites) shares pathophysiological similarities with HRS, but the accordance of the chronic BDL model to the diagnostic criteria of HRS (e.g. absence of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, no renal function improvement after plasma volume expansion) should have been confirmed. In conclusion, we think that the BDL model is not suitable for the study of the natural history of HRS, but the chronic BDL model might be valid for the study of established HRS and its potential therapies.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Ducts / surgery
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / etiology*
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Ligation
  • Rats