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J Vet Med Sci. 1997 Mar;59(3):159-67.

Morphological and immunohistochemical studies on porcine serum-induced rat liver fibrosis.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University, Kanagawa, Japan.


In order to clarify the pathogenesis of porcine serum (PS)-induced rat liver fibrosis, three experiments differing in dose of PS or duration of treatment were performed on male Fischer 344 rats. The rats were given an intraperitoneal injection of PS twice a week for 3 to 16 weeks and euthanized 7 days after the last injection for each treatment group. Liver tissues from these animals were subjected to detailed morphological and immunohistochemical examinations. Biochemical tests on treated rat serum revealed an increase in globulin concentration but no elevation in AST, ALT and ALP activities. There were no relationships among the dose of PS, the extent of fibrosis, and the anti-PS antibody titer. A number of alpha-smooth muscle actin-positive non-myofibroblastic cells, desmin-positive cells, and lipofuscin-laden Kupffer cells were found around the central veins and in the fibrous septa. In advanced stages of fibrosis, a proliferation of elastic fibers were observed in the septa. These findings were considered to indicate gradually occurred hepatocellular necrosis. The vascular endothelial cells in the fibrous septa expressed factor VIII-related antigen, exhibited fenestration accompanied by basement membrane formation, and were surrounded by Ito cells. Most of the portal vein branches showed hypertrophic thickening of the smooth muscle layer, resulting in narrowing of the lumen. These vascular changes suggested that hemodynamic alterations of the intrahepatic circulation induced hepatocellular necrosis/apoptosis and played an important role in the pathogenesis of porcine serum-induced liver fibrosis in rats.

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