Hepatomegaly Associated with Non-Obstructive Sinusoidal Dilation in Experimental Visceral Leishmaniasis.
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most severe form of leishmaniasis caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Hepatomegaly is one of the most frequent clinical manifestations of VL, whereas immunopathology of the symptom has not been well investigated. Using our chronic model of experimental VL, we examined the influence of Leishmania donovani infection on the liver by clinical, histological, and biochemical analyses. The infected mice showed increased liver weight 24 weeks post-infection. Although an increase in serum ALT and inflammatory cell accumulation were observed in the livers of infected mice, no apparent parenchymal necrosis or fibrosis was observed. Tissue water content analyses demonstrated that increased liver weight was predominantly due to an increase in water weight. Together with the finding of hepatic sinusoidal dilation, these results suggested that edema associated with sinusoidal dilation causes hepatomegaly in L. donovani infection. Immunostaining of platelets and erythrocytes showed no thrombus formation or damage to the sinusoidal endothelium in the liver of infected mice. Taken together, these results suggest that hepatomegaly during experimental VL is caused by non-obstructive sinusoidal dilation.