Fat accumulation (steatosis) in ballooned hepatocytes alters the expression of membrane transporters in Zucker fatty (fa/fa
) rats. The aim of the study was to quantify the functions of these transporters and their impact on hepatocyte concentrations using a clinical hepatobiliary contrast agent (Gadobenate dimeglumine, BOPTA) for liver imaging. In isolated and perfused rat livers, we quantified BOPTA accumulation and decay profiles in fa/+
(normal) and fa/fa
hepatocytes by placing a gamma counter over livers. Profiles of BOPTA accumulation and decay in hepatocytes were analysed with nonlinear regressions to characterise BOPTA influx and efflux across hepatocyte transporters. At the end of the accumulation period, BOPTA hepatocyte concentrations and influx clearances were not significantly different in fa/+
livers. In contrast, bile clearance was significantly lower in fatty hepatocytes while efflux clearance back to sinusoids compensated the low efflux into canaliculi. The time when BOPTA cellular efflux impacts the accumulation profile of hepatocyte concentrations was slightly delayed (2 min) by steatosis, anticipating a delayed emptying of hepatocytes. The experimental model is useful for quantifying the functions of hepatocyte transporters in liver diseases.
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