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A morphological method for ammonia detection in liver.


Hyperammonemia is a metabolic condition characterized by elevated levels of ammonia and a common event in acute liver injury/failure and chronic liver disease. Even though hepatic ammonia levels are potential predictive factors of patient outcome, easy and inexpensive methods aiming at the detection of liver ammonia accumulation in the clinical setting remain unavailable. Thus, herein we have developed a morphological method, based on the utilization of Nessler´s reagent, to accurately and precisely detect the accumulation of ammonia in biological tissue. We have validated our method against a commercially available kit in mouse tissue samples and, by using this modified method, we have confirmed the hepatic accumulation of ammonia in clinical and animal models of acute and chronic advanced liver injury as well as in the progression of fatty liver disease. Overall, we propose a morphological method for ammonia detection in liver that correlates well with the degree of liver disease severity and therefore can be potentially used to predict patient outcome.

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