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Toxicol Sci. 2002 Feb;65(2):309-18.

Endothelial cell injury and fibrin deposition in rat liver after monocrotaline exposure.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, B-346 Life Sciences Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.


Monocrotaline (MCT) is a pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) plant toxin that produces hepatotoxicity in people and animals. Human exposure to PAs occurs through consumption of contaminated grains and herbal remedies. Injection (ip) of MCT in rats produced dose-dependent hepatic parenchymal cell injury that was significant at 200 mg/kg. Injection of 300 mg/kg MCT produced time-dependent hepatotoxicity with significant injury beginning by 12 h after treatment. Histopathologic examination of liver sections revealed coagulative hepatocellular necrosis, widening of sinusoids and hemorrhage in centrilobular regions. MCT-induced damage to central venular endothelial cells (CVECs) and sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs) in the liver was quantified using immunohistochemical staining and by increased plasma hyaluronic acid concentration. MCT damaged CVECs and SECs in the liver by 8 h after treatment. Extensive endothelial cell injury was restricted to centrilobular regions. To determine if damage to endothelial cells in the liver stimulated activation of the coagulation system, fibrin deposition was quantified using immunohistochemistry. Extensive fibrin deposition occurred in the liver after MCT treatment and was restricted to centrilobular regions. Interestingly, both endothelial cell damage and fibrin deposition preceded the onset of hepatic parenchymal cell injury. These results suggest that endothelial cell damage and fibrin deposition in centrilobular regions of the liver are prominent features of MCT-induced liver injury.

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