Journal Article

Effects of cell proliferation and cell death (apoptosis and necrosis) on the early stages of rat hepatocarcinogenesis

A. Columbano, T. Endoh, A. Denda, O. Noguchi, D. Nakae, K. Hasegawa, G.M. Ledda-Columbano, A.I. Zedda and Y. Konishi

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 17, issue 3, pages 395-400
Published in print March 1996 | ISSN: 0143-3334
e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Effects of cell proliferation and cell death (apoptosis and necrosis) on the early stages of rat hepatocarcinogenesis

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An experiment was performed to investigate whether, during regression of the liver hyperplasia induced by a direct mitogen, apoptosis differentially affects replicated and non-replicated hepatocytes. After a single dose of the direct mitogen lead nitrate (LN), male Wistar rats were given repeated injections of tritiated thymidine, and were killed either 3 days (time of maximal hepatic DNA increase) or 15 days (complete regression of the hyperplasia) after mitogen treatment. Determination of liver DNA radioactivities and labelling indices (LIs) at the two time points revealed an ∼40% loss in total liver DNA radioactivity, a 20% decrease in the specific activity of DNA, and a 20% reduction in the cell LI. Three days after LN administration 64% of the apoptotic bodies contained thymidine grains in their nuclear fragments. The results indicated that apoptosis affects both hepatocytes that replicated, and those that did not replicate, the former being slightly more sensitive. A second experiment was then performed to investigate whether and to what extent different types of cell death (apoptosis versus necrosis) influence the growth of hepatocytes initiated by a chemical carcinogen. Male Wistar rats were given a single dose of diethylnitrosamine, and 2 weeks thereafter either a single dose of LN, or a necrogenic dose of carbon tetrachloride (CCI4). Bromodeoxyuridine was next infused for 5 days, and some of the animals were killed at this time point, and others after an additional 3 weeks. Administration of CC14 resulted in an increase in both the average size and the percentage area occupied by placental glutathione S-transferase-positive lesions. In contrast, administration of lead nitrate resulted in a strong reduction (50%) in the number of positive lesions with no remarkable change in the percentage area occupied by them. These differential effects occurred even though comparable LIs were observed in rats treated with the two agents. The results suggest that lead nitrate leads to a loss of initiated hepatocytes, due to the apoptosis that occurs during regression of the LN-induced hyperplasia.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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