To evaluate whether a temporary hepatic insufficiency may affect intestinal glucuronidation, we determined UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity towards bilirubin and p-nitrophenol in rat jejunum and liver after partial hepatectomy. Enzyme assays were performed in native, and in UDP-N-acetylglucosamine- or palmitoyl lysophosphatidylcholine-activated microsomes at different times post-hepatectomy. Content of enzyme was analyzed by Western blot. Microsomal cholesterol/phospholipid ratio, phospholipid and total fatty acid classes were also determined to evaluate the possible influence on enzyme activity. The results show that while hepatic microsomes exhibited no change in UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity (for both substrates) with respect to shams at any time of study, intestinal activities increased significantly 48 h after surgery, returning to sham values 96-h post-hepatectomy. Western blotting confirmed the increase (about 50% for both substrates 48-h post-hepatectomy) in intestinal UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activity. No variations were observed in hepatic and intestinal microsomal lipid composition in agreement with the absence of modification in the percent of activation by palmitoyl lysophosphatidylcholine. In conclusion, jejunum but not liver, was able to produce a compensatory increase in conjugation capacity during a transitory loss of hepatic mass. The phenomenon is associated to a modification in the amount of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, rather than to changes in the characteristics of the enzyme environment.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.