Lactulose enhances neuroplasticity to improve cognitive function in early hepatic encephalopathy

Nan Yang, He Liu, Yao Jiang, Ji Zheng, Dong-mei Li, Chao Ji, Yan-yong Liu, Ping-ping Zuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Lactulose is known to improve cognitive function in patients with early hepatic encephalopathy; however, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the behavioral and neurochemical effects of lactulose in a rat model of early hepatic encephalopathy induced by carbon tetrachloride. Immunohistochemistry showed that lactulose treatment promoted neurogenesis and increased the number of neurons and astrocytes in the hippocampus. Moreover, lactulose-treated rats showed shorter escape latencies than model rats in the Morris water maze, indicating that lactulose improved the cognitive impairments caused by hepatic encephalopathy. The present findings suggest that lactulose effectively improves cognitive function by enhancing neuroplasticity in a rat model of early hepatic encephalopathy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1457-1462
Number of pages6
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • nerve regeneration
  • brain injury
  • hepatic encephalopathy
  • Lactulose
  • neuroplasticity
  • neurogenesis
  • Morris water maze
  • cognition
  • rats
  • neuronal nuclei
  • glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • NSFC grants
  • neural regeneration


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