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International Journal of Hypertension
Volume 2013, Article ID 390872, 7 pages
Research Article

Mapping Metabolic Brain Activity in Three Models of Hepatic Encephalopathy

1Laboratorio de Neurociencias, Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de Oviedo, Plaza Feijoo s/n., 33003 Oviedo, Spain
2Departamento de Cirugía I, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n., 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 28 November 2012; Accepted 19 February 2013

Academic Editor: Natalia de las Heras

Copyright © 2013 Natalia Arias et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cirrhosis is a common disease in Western countries. Liver failure, hyperammonemia, and portal hypertension are the main factors that contribute to human cirrhosis that frequently leads to a neuropsychiatric disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy (HE). In this study, we examined the differential contribution of these leading factors to the oxidative metabolism of diverse brain limbic system regions frequently involved in memory process by histochemical labelling of cytochrome oxidase (COx). We have analyzed cortical structures such as the infralimbic and prelimbic cotices, subcortical structures such as hippocampus and ventral striatum, at thalamic level like the anterodorsal, anteroventral, and mediodorsal thalamus, and, finally, the hypothalamus, where the mammillary nuclei (medial and lateral) were measured. The severest alteration is found in the model that mimics intoxication by ammonia, followed by the thioacetamide-treated group and the portal hypertension group. No changes were found at the mammillary bodies for any of the experimental groups.