Tumor necrosis factor-alpha decreases hepatocyte bile salt uptake and mediates endotoxin-induced cholestasis

Hepatology. 1995 Oct;22(4 Pt 1):1273-8. doi: 10.1016/0270-9139(95)90639-8.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha), a cytokine that is produced in a variety of inflammatory diseases associated with cholestasis, is believed to be the primary mediator of the systemic effects of endotoxin. Thus, we have investigated the role of TNF alpha in the pathogenesis of endotoxin-induced cholestasis in intact animals, and in the uptake of taurocholate by cultured hepatocytes. Male Sprague-Dawley rats received either intravenous (IV) endotoxin (7.5 mg/kg) or monoclonal anti-TNF alpha antibody followed by endotoxin. Basal bile flow and bile salt excretion were measured for a 2-hour period, after which all animals received an IV bolus of taurocholate (10 mumol/100 g body weight). Endotoxin decreased basal bile flow by 41% and bile salt stimulated bile flow by 38% (n = 12; P < .01). Basal bile salt excretion was decreased 86% after endotoxin administration. Passive immunization with anti-TNF alpha antibody blocked this endotoxin-associated cholestasis. In addition, rat hepatocytes were isolated and cultured in the presence of either endotoxin (10 micrograms/mL) or TNF alpha (100 ng/mL) for 24 hours. These primary hepatocyte cultures exhibited a dose- and time-dependent, noncompetitive, inhibition of taurocholate uptake. We postulate that TNF alpha is an important mediator of the cholestasis of sepsis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Bile / physiology
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cholestasis / chemically induced*
  • Endotoxins*
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taurocholic Acid / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Endotoxins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Taurocholic Acid