Histopathological Alterations in the Livers of Chronic Hepatitis Patients Exposed to Agent Orange/Dioxin in Vietnam

Toxics. 2022 Jun 10;10(6):315. doi: 10.3390/toxics10060315.


We investigated changes in some laboratory indices and the liver histology of chronic hepatitis patients who were exposed to dioxin. In 2014, we collected liver biopsy samples for histopathological examination from 33 chronic hepatitis patients living around the Da Nang Airbase, which is a dioxin-contaminated area due to the herbicide spraying in Vietnam. Dioxin exposure was measured by its levels in the blood. METAVIR classification was used to clarify the liver fibrosis stage. Laboratory tests included ten biochemical and six hematological indices that were measured in the blood. A regression linear model and binary logistic regression were used for data analysis. The observed alterations in the liver at the histological level mainly comprised hydropic degenerative hepatocytes, lymphocytes and polynuclear leukocytes surrounding the liver cells and granular and lipoic degeneration. In addition, increased TCDD levels were associated with increasing aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase, protein and total bilirubin levels and liver fibrosis stage. Similarly, increased TEQ-PCDD/Fs levels were associated with higher levels of AST and protein and liver fibrosis stage. In conclusion, dioxin exposure altered the liver histology and increased some biochemical marker indices and the liver fibrosis stage of chronic hepatitis patients living in dioxin-contaminated areas in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Keywords: Vietnam; dioxin; histopathological change; liver damage; liver enzyme.