Brain oedema frequently accompanies liver failure and represents cytotoxic, cellular oedema in its pure form. As a consequence of intoxication, astrocytes are primarily affected, and they are the only cells which show prominent morphological changes in postmortem analysis. Astroglial swelling is proportional to the blood levels of ammonia (which increases following liver breakdown) and results from intracellular accumulation of organic osmolytes, with subsequent collapse of volume-regulating mechanisms.
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