Metabolic and Pathological Aspects of Hypoxia in Liver Cells

  • H. de Groot
  • A. Littauer
  • T. Noll


The liver parenchymal cell, subsequently referred to as the liver cell, is among those mammalian cells which are dependent in their functions upon molecular oxygen. Hypoxia, i.e., O2 deficiency, is present when there are deviations in the functions of the liver cell from their normal values owing to a subnormal oxygen partial pressure (PO2). Among the oxidases and oxygenases of the liver cell, a unique role is played by cytochrome oxidase of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The energy status and the oxidation-reduction status of the liver cell, and ultimately its viability, depend on its proper functioning. While cytochrome oxidase is characterized by an extraordinarily high affinity for O2, other oxidases and also the oxygenases of the liver cell usually possess a significantly lower affinity for O2. For this reason an impairment of the cytochrome oxidase activity due to O2 deficiency, and hence cell death, only occurs under severe hypoxia. However, certain pathological cell functions may already be altered under mild hypoxia, where cytochrome oxidase activity remains unaffected. An example is the increased reductive activation of halogenated alkanes to free radicals, resulting in an increased hepatotoxicity of these compounds under hypoxia.


Xanthine Oxidase Cytochrome Oxidase Pathological Aspect Urate Oxidase Cytochrome Oxidase Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. de Groot
    • 1
  • A. Littauer
    • 1
  • T. Noll
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologische Chemie IUniversität DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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