Iron overload facilitates hepatic fibrosis in the rat alcohol/low-dose carbon tetrachloride model

Hepatology. 1995 Apr;21(4):1083-8.


The role of iron deposition in initiating hepatic fibrosis in iron overload disorders is not clearly established, and it is becoming increasingly recognized that iron may be interacting with other potential liver-damaging agents. The authors therefore examined the interplay of iron and alcohol in rats administered subtoxic doses of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) vapor at 20 ppm in customized chambers. At birth, the offspring of seven pregnant Porton rats were divided into two groups: one group was fed a normal rat chow diet and the other a diet supplemented with 3% (w/w) carbonyl iron for 10 weeks after weaning. In this latter group, the mothers were fed an iron supplement while breastfeeding. At 10 weeks, the animals from the first group (normal chow) were divided into two groups of six animals and fed a Lieber-DeCarli liquid diet with daily exposure to CCl4 vapor: group 1, liquid diet+CCl4; group 2, liquid diet+alcohol 150 kcal/l+CCl4. The animals from the second iron-supplemented group were divided into two groups of six animals and fed a liquid diet with 3% (w/v) carbonyl iron and exposed to CCl4 vapor for 10 weeks: group 3, liquid diet+iron+CCl4; group 4, liquid diet+iron+alcohol supplement+CCl4. Two animals from each group of six had a liver biopsy at 4, 6, and 8 weeks, and all animals were killed after 10 weeks of CCl4 exposure. After the first 10-week iron loading period, the rats fed the carbonyl iron-supplemented diet had a 10-fold elevation in hepatic iron concentration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Tetrachloride / toxicity*
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron / toxicity*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats


  • Ethanol
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Iron