Decreased accumulation of ultrasound contrast in the liver of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis rat model

World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Oct 7;17(37):4191-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i37.4191.


Aim: To investigate the diagnosis of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) using contrast ultrasonography in the NASH rat model.

Methods: The liver in methionine choline-deficient diet (MCDD) rats, a NASH model constructed by feeding an MCDD, was examined by contrast ultrasonography at weeks 2, 4, 8, 12 and 16, with late phase images of contrast ultrasonography (Kupffer imaging) in which contrast enhancement was achieved by incorporation of a contrast agent by Kupffer cells (KCs), and images were compared to those in rats taking a regular chow.

Results: Decrease in contrast enhancement was observed first in MCDD rats at week 2. KCs were counted based on immunohistochemistry, but their numbers were not reduced and it was assumed that attenuation of contrast enhancement was attributable to reduced phagocytic activity of the KCs.

Conclusion: It is suggested that clinical application of contrast ultrasonography may be valuable for non-invasive diagnosis of NASH.

Keywords: Contrast ultrasound; Kupffer cell; Leptin; Methionine choline-deficient diet; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Choline Deficiency / metabolism
  • Contrast Media / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis
  • Fatty Liver / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Kupffer Cells / metabolism
  • Leptin / blood
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Methionine / deficiency
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Ultrasonography


  • Contrast Media
  • Leptin
  • Methionine