idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nachrichten, Termine, Experten

Grafik: idw-Logo
Science Video Project

idw-News App:


Google Play Store

Share on: 
06/10/2022 10:55

Interruption of bile acid uptake by liver cells after paracetamol overdose mitigates liver damage

Anne Rommel Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Leibniz-Institut für Arbeitsforschung an der TU Dortmund

    Poisoning with paracetamol (acetaminophen - APAP) is a common cause of liver failure. However, not all the correlations that lead to liver damage from APAP are yet known. Especially the role of bile acids is unclear. The Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environments and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) has therefore investigated why the concentration of bile acids increases in the liver after APAP poisoning. The researchers have published the latest findings in the Journal of Hepatology: The bile acids are repeatedly fed into the liver through a circuit instead of flowing directly out of the liver. Interrupting this circulation massively reduces liver damage.

    Liver failure due to APAP poisoning is often associated with increased bile acid levels. Using intravital microscopy and special imaging techniques in mice, Dr Ahmed Ghallab's research group therefore analysed bile acid transport in more detail. In the process, a new mechanism was discovered, which the group called "futile bile acid cycling".

    An overdose of APAP violates the barrier between bile and blood. Thus, bile acids leak into the blood and are repeatedly transported back into the liver cells by the circulatory system and do not flow out of the liver. This results in a high bile acid concentration in the individual liver cells, which eventually leads to their death.

    Discovered mechanism offers new therapeutic options

    Another important observation was that interrupting the circulation of bile acids in liver cells, reduces the liver damage caused by APAP. Preventing the transport of bile acids could therefore be a therapeutic option after APAP poisoning. Currently, only one drug (N-acetylcysteine) is approved for the treatment of acetaminophen overdose, and it is only effective if administered within eight hours of the overdose.

    Contact for scientific information:

    Prof. Dr. med. Jan G. Hengstler
    Head of Department Toxicology
    Phone: +49 231 1084-348

    Dr. Ahmed Ghallab
    Head of Group IntravitalTox
    Phone: +49 231 1084-356

    Original publication:

    A. Ghallab, R. Hassan, U. Hofmann, A. Friebel, Z. Hobloss, L. Brackhagen, B. Begher-Tibbe, M. Myllys, J. Reinders, N. Overbeck, S. Sezgin, S. Zühlke, A. Seddek, W. Murad, T. Brecklinghaus, F. Kappenberg, J. Rahnenführer, D. González, C. Goldring, I. Copple, R. Marchan, T. Longerich, M. Vucur, T. Luedde, S. Urban, A. Canbay, T. Schreiter, M. Trauner, J. Akakpo, M. Olyaee, S. Curry, J. Sowa, H. Jaeschke, S. Hoehme, J. Hengstler: Interruption of bile acid uptake by hepatocytes after acetaminophen overdose ameliorates hepatotoxicity, J. Hepatol, 2022,


    Criteria of this press release:
    Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Nutrition / healthcare / nursing
    transregional, national
    Research results



    Search / advanced search of the idw archives
    Combination of search terms

    You can combine search terms with and, or and/or not, e.g. Philo not logy.


    You can use brackets to separate combinations from each other, e.g. (Philo not logy) or (Psycho and logy).


    Coherent groups of words will be located as complete phrases if you put them into quotation marks, e.g. “Federal Republic of Germany”.

    Selection criteria

    You can also use the advanced search without entering search terms. It will then follow the criteria you have selected (e.g. country or subject area).

    If you have not selected any criteria in a given category, the entire category will be searched (e.g. all subject areas or all countries).