Author(s): Rmert P, Matthiessen ME
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Abstract The effect of alcohol on hepatocytes from pregnant mini-pigs and their half-term fetuses was studied after addition of 100-300 g ethanol daily to the ordinary sufficient fodder for about 20 days. Well-defined areas of liver tissue from ethanol-exposed mini-pigs and their fetuses were immersion fixed. The hepatocytes were evaluated ultrastructurally and compared to hepatocytes of non-treated control animals. After exposure to ethanol the hepatocytes of the pregnant mini-pig developed an extensive smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and showed an increased number of mitochondria, microbodies and autophagic vacuoles, extensive Golgi complexes with accumulation of secretion, and a reduction of glycogen. The hepatocytes of the half-term fetuses exhibited profound changes of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum after alcohol exposure. Many mitochondria showed abnormal shape and increased size, disorientation of cristae and accumulation of paracrystalline material. An increased number of autophagic vacuoles containing remnants of mitochondria were observed. The granular endoplasmic reticulum exhibited aggregations of endoplasmic cisternae which were well defined and not bounded by a membrane. Thus, the ultrastructural changes in the hepatocytes of the pregnant mini-pig seem to indicate an adaptation of these cells to ethanol by development of a microsomal or catalase ethanol-oxidizing system, while the hepatocytes of the mini-pig fetus in contrast show obvious signs of cellular injury.
This article was published in Acta Anat (Basel)
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology