Endotoxin, reticuloendothelial function, and liver injury

Hepatology. Sep-Oct 1981;1(5):458-65. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840010516.


The concept that relates intestinal bacteria and their toxins as a common pathway of liver injury by toxic agents has interested investigators for a long period. Recently, a number of studies in experimental animals and in patients with liver disease support this contention, and are reviewed. Evidence is presented to suggest that: (a) function of the sinusoidal cells is critical to integrity of the hepatocyte; (b) damage to these lining cells by several agents may be the initial injury leading to decreased ability of the liver to detoxify endotoxin (LPS); (c) following this primary injury to Kupffer and endothelial cells, LPS causes damage at amounts which are ordinarily innocuous and may represent a final pathway of liver necrosis; (d) "spillover" of LPS may lead to systemic manifestations of liver disease, and (e) modification of endotoxin toxicity or absorption may protect against several acute and chronic liver injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Tetrachloride Poisoning / physiopathology
  • Endotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Kupffer Cells / physiology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System / physiology*
  • Necrosis
  • Rats


  • Endotoxins
  • Lipopolysaccharides