Biochemical, histological, and electron-microscopic investigation of seven preterm infants who became jaundiced after prolonged total parenteral nutrition showed conjugated hyperbilirubinaemia apparently due to cholestasis without significant primary liver cell injury. In the absence of evidence indicating a direct toxic effect on the liver of this form of nutrition the necropsy findings in one child and analogy with the effects of total parenteral nutrition in animals suggest that the cholestasis is the result of suppression of trophic and/or secretion-stimulating hormone(s) normally produced by the gut, due to absent enteral nutrition. Biochemical and electron-microscopic findings suggest that liver cell damage occurs after resumption of enteral nutrition.
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