Objectives: Complications such as ascites during the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis may lead to several abnormalities in mineral metabolism. In the present investigation, we have monitored serum and liver concentrations of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium during experimentally induced hepatic fibrosis in rats.
Design and methods: The liver injury was induced by intraperitoneal injections of dimethylnitrosamine (DMN; N-nitrosodimethylamine, NDMA) in doses 1 mg/100 g body weight on 3 consecutive days of each week over a period of 21 days. Calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in the serum and liver on days 7, 14 and 21 after the start of DMN administration.
Results: Negative correlations were observed between liver function tests and serum mineral levels, except with albumin. Calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium concentrations in the serum were decreased after the induction of liver injury. The liver calcium content was increased after DMN treatment. No change occurred in liver sodium content. However, magnesium and potassium content was significantly reduced in the hepatic tissue.
Conclusions: The results suggest that DMN-induced hepatic fibrosis plays certain role in the alteration of essential elements. The low levels of albumin and the related ascites may be one of the major causes of the imbalance of mineral metabolism in hepatic fibrosis and further aggravation of the disease.