A quantitative evaluation of apoptotic bodies in rat liver

Liver. 1988 Jun;8(3):172-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0676.1988.tb00987.x.


The aim of the present study was to determine if data on the number and acinar distribution of apoptotic bodies (AB) in normal liver could help in the understanding of cell kinetics in the liver, and the mechanism of early ethanol-induced liver damage. Normal male Sprague-Dawley rats were studied. They had free access to Purina chow and drinking water. Ethanol-treated rats received the drug at increasing concentration in drinking water for 5 weeks. The following parameters were measured: number of AB in the lobule, topographical localization, distance from terminal hepatic veins (THV), i.e. row of hepatocytes concerned, H1 being the closest to the THV. The results show that AB are rare in the normal liver and are always observed in zone 3, next to the THV. Of 149 THV examined, 56 showed one associated AB, exceptionally two. 74% of the AB were confined to the first row of hepatocytes (H1), 21% to H2, 4% to H3, and 1% to H4. In ethanol-treated rats the mean number of AB was 2 or 3 for each THV. 42% were found in H1, 32% in H2, 15% in H3, 7% in H4, and 4% in H5. The data show that AB are not randomly dispersed in normal liver but show a preferential acinar distribution. In addition, most AB are located in the row of liver cells immediately adjacent to the THV. If apoptosis is indeed an expression of physiological cell renewal, these findings support the concept that zone 3 contains older hepatocytes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Survival
  • Ethanol / toxicity
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / pathology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Ethanol