Journal Article

Xenomorphic hepatocellular precursors and neoplastic progression of tigroid cell foci induced in rats with low doses of N-nitrosomorpholine.

P Ströbel, F Klimek, H Zerban, A Kopp-Schneider and P Bannasch

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 19, issue 12, pages 2069-2080
Published in print December 1998 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online December 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/19.12.2069
Xenomorphic hepatocellular precursors and neoplastic progression of tigroid cell foci induced in rats with low doses of N-nitrosomorpholine.

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Tigroid cell foci (TCF) are a well-defined entity induced in rat liver by chemical carcinogens, their significance for hepatocarcinogenesis being controversial. Using cytomorphological, cytochemical and morphometric approaches, we studied the evolution and fate of TCF sequentially from 7 to 110 weeks in groups of 50 male Sprague-Dawley rats, which remained untreated or received N-nitrosomorpholine (NNM) orally at concentrations of 3 and 1 mg/kg body wt/day for 7 and up to 75 weeks, respectively. An increased incidence of hepatocellular neoplasms developed in exposed animals compared with controls, which was significant for adenomas at both dose levels, and for carcinomas (HCC) after the longer exposure to the lower dose level (P < 0.0001). TCF appeared frequently in addition to other types of proliferative foci of altered hepatocytes (FAH) including clear/acidophilic and mixed cell foci (MCF) in NNM-treated and rarely in untreated rats. Striking similarities in the cellular phenotypes of TCF and many hepatocellular neoplasms indicated the potential of TCF for progression to both adenomas and carcinomas. TCF emerged from xenomorphic cell foci (XCF), which consisted of hypertrophied hepatocytes typically presenting an enlarged nucleus, abundant glycogen, smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum, altered activities of several enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism and an increased cell proliferation (P < 0.001) compared with the extrafocal parenchyma. TCF shared many features with XCF, but their basophilia and proliferative activity was higher. The number of FAH appearing at the two dose levels of NNM was similar but the average size of TCF and MCF was frequently higher at late time points in the group developing a significantly higher incidence of HCC, which suggests a pronounced acceleration of neoplastic conversion in established preneoplastic cell populations rather than the induction of additional FAH by sustained effects of low doses of carcinogens.

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Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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