The increased production of reactive oxygen species that leads to mitochondrial damage is said to be another significant source of liver injury . In our experiment, acetaminophen-induced oxidative stress was evidenced by high levels of hepatic malondialdehyde, increased values of the cholesterol/HDL cholesterol fraction and increased activity of glutathione-S-transferase-π observed in the control animals. Propofol administration reduced the above indicators of hepatic oxidative stress, confirming previous observations about its antioxidant activity [7–11].
Cytokines, chemokines and vascular endothelial growth factor also seem to be involved in hepatocyte injury and regeneration following acetaminophen toxicity [4,24]. We did not measure cytokine levels in our study; we did however, evaluate histological markers of inflammation and regeneration, processes that are associated with cytokines. The fact that propofol administration did not seem to affect inflammation and regeneration in our study may partly explain its inability to prevent injury. On the contrary, other studies have shown that propofol can inhibit cytokine responses to endotoxaemia in vitro and in vivo and after gut ischaemia/reperfusion-induced liver injury [25–28].
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