Sepsis and liver dysfunction: state of the art (review)

S.P. Sviridova, Yu.I. Patyutko, A.V. Sotnikov

N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center, The Ministry of Healthcare of Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia

For citation: Sviridova SP, Patyutko YuI, Sotnikov AV. Sepsis and liver dysfunction: state of the art (review). Intensive Care Herald. 2016;1:3–12.


Cellular and molecular mechanisms of liver injury in sepsis are described. The liver plays a major role in a wide range of metabolic, homeostatic and defensive reactions in sepsis: the binding of bacteria and production of inflammatory mediators, as well as immuno-modulation. Numerous studies showed that oxidative stress and cytokine/endotoxin-mediated damage are the main pathogenetic mechanisms of liver injury in sepsis. Novel translational researches of the molecular mechanisms of severe sepsis conducted by authors from Austria, Germany and the UK provide a valuable view on the pathogenesis of liver dysfunction during sepsis. Shifts of plasma concentrations of bile acids in the early hours of sepsis are associated with liver dysfunction with high sensitivity and specificity, and clinical outcomes are associated with the severity of these changes and correlate with prognosis. Metabolic shifts and inflammatory reaction reduce biological transformation in the liver (especially activity of cytochrome P450 is decreased), resulting in significant deterioration of endo- and xeno-biotisc excretion. It was established that sepsis induces the reprogramming of metabolic liver functions in accordance with the severity of phase I and phase II biotransformation and tubular transport disorders. Inflammatory cytokines produced by the Kupffer cells lead to hepatocytes’ suppression of various ATP-dependent transporters involved in bile current resulting in intralobular cholestasis. Liver dysfunction plays role in many pathological processes and causes serious damage to metabolic state, immune response, coagulation, detoxification and antimicrobial protection. A better understanding of the liver pathophysiology in sepsis, early detection of liver dysfunction and prompt appropriate treatment of severe sepsis are crucial for improving of the survival rates.

Keywords: sepsis, systemic dysfunction, liver failure, liver dysfunction, cytokines.


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