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Br J Nutr. 1996 Oct;76(4):579-89.

Morphological changes in hepatocytes of rats deprived of dietary nucleotides.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Granada, Spain.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of dietary nucleotides on liver morphology. Adult rats were fed for 21 d on a nucleotide-containing diet or the same diet free of nucleotides. Liver sections were examined by light and transmission electron microscopy, as well as for nucleic acid and protein contents. Morphometric analysis was performed for different variables. Deprivation of dietary nucleotides resulted in a reduction in hepatocyte nuclear and nucleolar areas as well as in nuclear chromatin condensation. In addition, the rough endoplasmic reticulum was reduced, as were ribosome association and abundance, whereas fat accumulated. These findings portray dietary nucleotides as required nutrients for the liver under normal physiological conditions and suggest that an inadequate supply of nucleotides for a certain period of time has transient negative effects on liver ultrastructure and function.

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