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Attenuation of Congenital Portosystemic Shunt Reduces Inflammation in Dogs

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    Rights statement: Copyright: © 2015 Tivers et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0117557
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2015


Liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. One of the most significant complications in patients with liver disease is the development of neurological disturbances, termed hepatic encephalopathy. The pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy is incompletely understood, which has resulted in the development of a wide range of experimental models. Congenital portosystemic shunt is one of the most common congenital disorders diagnosed in client owned dogs. Our recent studies have demonstrated that the pathophysiology of canine hepatic encephalopathy is very similar to human hepatic encephalopathy, which provides strong support for the use of dogs with a congenital portosystemic shunt as a naturally occurring model of human hepatic encephalopathy. Specifically, we have demonstrated an important role for ammonia and inflammation in the development of hepatic encephalopathy in dogs with a congenital portosystemic shunt. Despite the apparent importance of inflammation in driving hepatic encephalopathy in dogs, it is unclear whether inflammation resolves following the successful treatment of liver disease. We hypothesized that haematological and biochemical evidence of inflammation, as gauged by neutrophil, lymphocyte and monocyte concentrations together with C-reactive protein concentrations, would decrease following successful treatment of congenital portosystemic shunts in dogs. One hundred and forty dogs with a congenital portosystemic shunt were enrolled into the study. We found that the proportion of dogs with a monocyte concentration above the reference range was significantly greater in dogs with hepatic encephalopathy at time of initial diagnosis. Importantly, neutrophil and monocyte concentrations significantly decreased following surgical congenital portosystemic shunt attenuation. We also found a significant decrease in C-reactive protein concentrations following surgical attenuation of congenital portosystemic shunts. Our study demonstrates that haematological and biochemical indices of inflammation reduce following successful treatment of the underlying liver disorder.

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