Histological assessment of liver cells in methamphetamine-induced rats

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Plaiyfah Janthueng
Sri-arun Iamjan
Samur Thanoi
Sutisa Nudmamud-Thanoi


Background : Methamphetamine (METH) is a highly addictive psychostimulant drug which can distribute and toxic to multiple organs including liver. There have been reported that methamphetamine increase glycogen storage,
mitochondrial aggregation and microvascular lipid, on the other hand, decrease total protein and glutathione peroxidase in the liver.

Objectives : This study aimed to investigate morphological changes as well as the changes of protein and DNA contents in the liver cell (hepatocyte) in the liver of methamphetamine-induced male rat.

Methods : Male Sprague-Dawley rats induced addiction by receiving methamphetamine was studied for morphological changes in the liver cells by Hematoxylin and Eosin staining. Study of protein contents was performed by Bromophenol blue staining, while the study of DNA contents performed by Feulgen staining. ImageJ software was applied for morphological study, and protein and DNA intensities were measured and calculated in comparison with control.

Results : Qualitative study demonstrated abnormal morphologies in hepatocyte including nuclear enlargement, nuclear shrunken and nuclear fragmentation in methamphetamine-induced rats. In quantitative study, the percentage of the number of abnormal hepatocytes was significantly increased in methamphetamine-induced rats. In addition, the relative optical density (ROD) of protein and DNA contents were significantly decreased in
methamphetamine-induced rats when compare with control.

Conclusion : This study demonstrated structural and functional changes in hepatocytes of METH-induced rats. These could also reflect abnormal liver function in human with METH.

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Modern Medicine