On the other hand, it is also considered that KCs that produce cytokines may differ from KCs with phagocytotic activity, and LPS-responsive KCs (CD14-positive KCs) are potential sources of proinflammatory and profibrogenic cytokine release. Cytokines such IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α are released from CD14-positive KCs by stimulation
of LPS.12 CD14-transgenic mice that overexpress CD14 on monocytes have increased sensitivity to LPS.13 In contrast, CD14-deficient mice are completely unable to release cytokine when exposed to LPS.14 Even when the CD14 expression on KCs is low, CD14 is still critical for LPS activation. In addition, isolated KCs respond to low concentrations of LPS with production of proinflammatory cytokines. Although the expression of CD14-positive KCs is low in normal livers,15 these cells increase find protocol in many types of liver disease by progression of hepatic fibrosis,
advanced stage, and stimulation of LPS.16 Superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) magnetic resonance imaging (SPIO-MRI) is a popular liver-specific MRI method for detecting hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs).17 The technique relies on the ability of KCs to take up SPIO particles. Because KCs are absent in HCC tissues, differential phagocytosis of SPIO particles allows radiological separation of normal liver from HCC lesions. Following intravenous SPIO, phagocytosis by KCs leads to reduced signal intensity on T2 MRI Metformin sequences such that HCCs with no KCs show high signal intensity. Conversely, areas with abundant KCs show low T2 signal intensity. In normal liver, therefore, there is Florfenicol a low T2 signal intensity. The signal intensity using SPIO can serve as a surrogate marker of KC phagocytotic function. SPIO-MRI, therefore, was also established and introduced to evaluate phagocytotic function of KCs in humans and rats with NAFLD.18,19 An ultrasonographic technique was also introduced to evaluate the phagocytotic function of KCs in patients
with NASH.20 Furthermore, phagocytosis of KCs was impaired in patients with NASH, and the methods were useful for evaluating the phagocytotic function of KCs. However, ultrasonographic evaluation of phagocytotic function of KCs may be influenced by altered hepatic microcirculation. On the other hand, SPIO-MRI methods control for possible microcirculatory changes.19 Therefore, as in this study, SPIO-MRI is a useful method for evaluating phagocytotic function of KCs in patients with NAFLD. In this issue of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology,21 Tonan et al. clearly showed that the number of CD14-positive KCs in the livers of patients with NASH increased compared with that in patients with SS, although the number of CD-68-positive KCs was not different.