Immunohistochemical analysis of cannabinoid receptor 1 expression in steatotic rat livers
COOPER, MARTIN E.
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AbstractThe primary aim of the present study was to determine the expression levels of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in steatotic rat livers. The secondary aim was to clarify whether steatosis and inflammation are more marked in areas with increased CB1 overexpression. For ethical and economic reasons, the present study investigated tissue from archived liver blocks, which were obtained from 38 rats that had been euthanized during the course of previous research at the Karolinska Institute of the Karolinska University Hospital (Stockholm, Sweden) and Lund University (Malmö, Sweden). Liver tissue fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin was used that had been sourced from 36 male Sprague Dawley rats (age, 7 weeks) and 2 rats (age, 180 days) lacking normal leptin receptors. The rat liver tissue was stained with antibodies against CB1 and counterstained with hematoxylin. The expression of CB1 and the number of cells overexpressing CB1 were determined. Steatosis was scored according to the Dixon scoring system. CB1 overexpression and steatosis were detected in hepatocytes from all 38 livers sampled. The expression of CB1 was more marked in hepatocytes localized next to portal triads. Near the central veins, the expression was significantly weaker. Steatosis was more marked in areas of increased CB1 overexpression. Lymphocyte infiltration was more commonly observed in areas of increased CB1 overexpression. Therefore, the present results indicate that CB1 receptors are overexpressed in areas with steatosis, and indicate that CB1 in hepatocytes contributes to the formation of steatosis in rats, even prior to its progression to steatohepatitis. These results are consistent with publications reporting that CB1 in hepatocytes increases lipogenesis and contributes to inflammation.