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Carcinogenesis. 1995 Jan;16(1):139-42.

Transplantation of normal hepatocytes modulates the development of chronic liver lesions induced by a pyrrolizidine alkaloid, lasiocarpine.

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  • 1Istituto di Patologia Sperimentale, Universit√† di Cagliari, Italy.


Lasiocarpine (LC), a pyrrolizidine alkaloid, is able to induce a series of chronic and progressive lesions in rat liver, including a long-lasting block in the cell cycle, the appearance of enlarged hepatocytes (megalocytosis), fibrosis, cirrhosis and malignant neoplasma. In this study the effect of transplantation of normal hepatocytes on the development of LC-induced chronic lesions in rat liver was examined. Two-month-old male Fischer 344 rats were given a single dose of LC (80 mumol/kg i.p.). Four weeks later all animals were subjected to 2/3 partial hepatectomy (PH). In addition, at the time of PH one group of rats were transplanted with normal hepatocytes isolated from a syngeneic donor (10(6) cells/rats via the portal vein), while the other group received only the culture medium. All rats were killed 14 weeks after the operation. Grossly, the liver of rats exposed to LC followed by PH with no transplantation of normal hepatocytes was small in size (% liver wt/body wt 1.66 +/- 0.08) and exhibited a few whitish nodules. Histologically, approximately 88% of the liver section was occupied by enlarged hepatocytes and hepatocyte nodules composed of smaller hepatocytes developed in every animal in this group. In addition, extensive bile ductular proliferation was present. However, the liver of rats that were similarly treated but received normal hepatocytes were significantly larger in size (% liver wt/body wt 2.16 +/- 0.07) and were almost completely free of megalocytosis, bile ductular proliferation and hepatocyte nodules. These findings indicate that transplantation of normal hepatocytes is able to modulate the development of chronic liver lesions induced by LC and may be relevant to the pathogenesis of progressive liver diseases such as neoplasia and cirrhosis.

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