Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) plays an important role in the pathogensis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection induced liver injury. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of TNF-α inhibition with pentoxifylline (PTX) on concanavalin A (Con A)-induced
hepatic injury in rats. The rats were distributed among 3 groups: (i) control group (1 mL saline·week–1 by intravenous injection (i.v.)); (ii) Con A treatment group (20 mg Con A·(kg body mass)–1·week–1,
i.v.), and (iii) rats treated with Con A and with PTX (200 mg PTX·(kg body mass)–1·day–1, per oral) group. Blood samples and livers were collected at the end of weeks 1, 2, 4, and 8 of Con A treatment. Portal pressure (PP)
was measured at the end of week 8. The administration of PTX was found to confer significant protection against the injurious effects of Con A on the liver, by reducing serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, hepatic TNF-α, and malondialdehyde. Histopathological
examination revealed that treatment with PTX significantly suppressed early inflammation, reduced alpha smooth muscle actin, and the apoptosis of hepatocytes induced by Con A. Moreover, PTX significantly (P < 0.05) reduced PP, and quantitative analyses of the area of fibrosis
induced by treatment with Con A showed a significant reduction at the end of week 8. We conclude that rats treated with PTX revealed a more or less normal hepatocyte architecture as well as marked improvement in fibrosis and PP.
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