The aim of the present study was to determine whether alterations in hepatic energy expenditure following partial hepatectomy (PHx), as documented by in vivo hepatic 31P-MRS, correlate with standard parameters of hepatic regeneration and/or liver function. In addition, we sought to determine whether changes in hepatic energy levels are proportional to the extent of hepatic resection. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (4-7 per group) underwent a 40%, 70%, or 90% PHx or sham surgeries. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) examinations were performed on each animal 24 or 48 hours thereafter. After MRS examinations, [3H]thymidine incorporation into hepatic DNA, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) protein expression, and serum bilirubin determinations were performed on each rat. Twenty-four hours following surgery, rats that had undergone 70% PHx had unchanged adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels but significantly lower ATP/inorganic phosphate (Pi) ratios (P < .05), whereas, at 48 hours post-PHx, both ATP and ATP/Pi levels were lower than in sham- and nonoperated controls (P < .05). Hepatic regeneration and liver dysfunction mirrored these changes; correlations existed between ATP/Pi ratios and [3H] thymidine incorporation (r = -0.61, P < .005), PCNA protein expression (r = -0.62, P < .005), and serum bilirubin (r = -0.49, P < .05). For rats that had undergone graded resections, depleted energy levels 48 hours post-PHx were proportional to the extent of resection, degree of enhanced regenerative activity, and liver dysfunction. In conclusion, 31P-MRS-generated ATP/Pi index is a noninvasive, robust determination that correlates with standard parameters of hepatic regeneration and function.
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