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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1992 Apr;113(2):167-83.

The role of the nucleus and other compartments in toxic cell death produced by alkylating hepatotoxicants.

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Toxicology Program, College of Pharmacy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.


Hepatocellular necrosis occurs under a wide range of pathological conditions. In most cases, toxic cell death takes place over a finite span of time, delayed from the point of initial injury and accompanied by homeostatic counterresponses that are varied and complex. The present strategies for discovering critical steps in cell death recognize that (1) different toxins produce similar morphologic changes that precede killing in widely varied cell types, and that (2) lethal events are likely to involve one or more compartmentalized functions that are common to most cells. Investigations of the plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, cytoplasm, mitochondrion, and nucleus have greatly advanced our understanding of acute hepatocellular necrosis. This report examines each compartment but emphasizes molecular changes in the nucleus which may explain cell death caused by alkylating hepatotoxicants. Accumulating knowledge about two distinct modes of cell death, necrosis and apoptosis, indicates that loss of Ca2+ regulation and subsequent damage to DNA may be critical steps in lethal damage to liver cells by toxic chemicals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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