Background/Aims: We have previously shown that long-term ethanol consumption by rats results in a profound decrease in hepatocyte attachment to various extracellular matrix substrates. The present study investigated whether differences in attachment exist between cells isolated from either the periportal or perivenous regions of the liver. Methods: Rats received long-term ethanol, and hepatocytes were selectively isolated by the digitonin-collagenase perfusion method. The ability of periportal and perivenous cells isolated from ethanol-fed and pair-fed control rats to attach to plates coated with either laminin, fibronectin, or type I collagen was then assayed. Results: With all substrates, the attachment of perivenous hepatocytes isolated from ethanol-fed animals was significantly impaired. Time-course studies showed that although the rate of attachment of perivenous cells from ethanol-fed animals was only slightly reduced, a dramatic decrease in absolute attachment was observed. Furthermore, the perivenous cells isolated from ethanol-fed animals detached more readily from the substrate-coated plates than the corresponding periportal cells or either periportal or perivenous cells from pair-fed controls. Conclusions: Long-term ethanol consumption impairs hepatocyte-extracellular matrix interactions more severely in the perivenous region of the liver. This finding could be relevant to the pathological changes observed in alcoholic liver injury.
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