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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1981 Aug;67(2):377-92.

Biology of hepatocellular neoplasia in the mouse. II. Sequential enzyme histochemical analysis of BALB/c mouse liver during safrole-induced carcinogenesis.


Sequential alterations in enzyme histochemical profiles and reaction of hepatocytes to rapid iron overload were examined in male BALB/c mice during chronic, safrole exposure. At 24 weeks after initiation of safrole treatment, foci of enzyme-altered hepatocytes were noted. These foci were composed of cells showing a decrease in reactivity for glucose-6-phosphatase (Glc-6-Pase) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and an increase for gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (gamma-Glu-T). In control, iron-loaded mice, the livers were intensely siderotic. In safrole-exposed, iron-loaded mice, foci of iron-negative hepatocytes, varying from a few cells to a lobule in diameter, were initially noted at 24 weeks. Both enzyme-altered and iron-negative foci occurred in the livers of exposed mice at all time periods after 24 weeks. After 36, 52, and 75 weeks of safrole treatment, hepatocellular adenomas were noted with altered enzyme histochemical profiles. Hepatocytes from adenomas were characterized by a decreased staining for Glc-6-pase and SDH and increased staining for gamma-Glu-T and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (Glc-6-PD). In addition, a few nodules showed a decrease in staining for 5'nucleotidase. In iron-loaded mice, hepatocytes of adenomas showed a decreased to negative reaction for iron when the surrounding parenchyma was siderotic. Hepatocellular carcinomas (HPC) occurred in livers of mice exposed to safrole for 52-75 weeks. The cells of HPC displayed similar enzyme histochemical reactions as cells of adenomas. They were decreased for Glc-6-Pase and SDH activity and increased for gamma-Glu-T and Glc-6-PD. In iron-loaded mice, the HPC cells were negative for stainable iron. Foci, adenomas, and HPC displayed some variability in enzyme histochemical reactions. Variability existed between lesions as well as between cells of the same lesion.

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