Nodular regenerative hyperplasia in the rat induced by a selenium-enriched diet: study of a model

Hepatology. 1992 Aug;16(2):418-25. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840160221.


Weaned male rats were fed a 4 ppm selenium diet. Compared after 2 mo with a control group fed a 0.4 ppm diet, the rats' body weights had not significantly decreased and liver function was normal, but portal pressure was 1.8 times higher (p less than 0.05). Liver weight was slightly increased (10.3%; p less than 0.05). All livers had an abnormal appearance. In the less severe cases the surface was only slightly irregular, but in the more severe cases, atrophic micronodular lobes and hypertrophic lobes, with mildly irregular surfaces, were present. On light microscopy, atrophic lobes displayed a peripheral nodular zone with micronodules separated by rows of atrophic hepatocytes without fibrosis, characteristic of nodular regenerative hyperplasia, and a central atrophic zone that was sometimes peliotic. Hypertrophic lobes and livers in the less severe cases had only minor and relatively localized evidence of nodular regenerative hyperplasia; occasional peliosis was seen. In all cases portal veins, hepatic veins and hepatic arteries were normal. By electron microscopy, in nonnodular zones with no obvious evidence of parenchymal atrophy, the endothelial wall showed signs of complete or incomplete capillarization with frequent enlargement of the Disse space. The selenium-enriched diet is a reproducible model of liver nodular regenerative hyperplasia. In this model, damage to the sinusoidal wall could represent the primum movens of microcirculatory disturbances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hyperplasia
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Regeneration
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Selenium / toxicity*


  • Selenium