Protective effects of alpha-tocopherol on the hepatotoxicity of carbon tetrachloride: An electron microscope study

Jacopo Meldolesi

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The ultrastructure of the liver of rats poisoned with CCl4 has been compared with that of rats which had been pretreated with a lipid antioxidant, alpha-tocopherol, before receiving CCl4. Treatment with CCl4 produced severe alterations of liver cells, such as fat infiltration, mitochondrial swelling, dilation and degranulation of the RER, and formation of large masses of tightly packed smooth membranes. Centrilobular cells appeared to have suffered a much more severe injury than perilobular cells. However, in the animals treated with alpha-tocopherol and CCl4, an almost uniform reduction of the degree of the lesions was observed. These results are in agreement with the hypothesis that lipid peroxidation is the main mechanism of CCl4 hepatotoxicity. Both in CCl4 and in alpha-tocopherol + CCl4-treated animals, the increase of smooth vesicles seemed to exceed the decrease of the rough elements of the ER. This observation seems to suggest that CCl4 not only induces the transformation of RER to SER, but also a net increase in the synthesis of ER membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1968


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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