Background/aims: Polyenylphosphatidylcholine protects against alcoholic cirrhosis in the baboon. This study assesses whether the antifibrotic effect also pertains to a species other than the baboon and to agents other than alcohol.
Methods: Rats were injected with either CC14 in peanut oil or peanut oil alone, and pair-fed nutritionally adequate liquid diets, with or without polyenylphosphatidylcholine. Other rats were injected with heterologous albumin instead of CC14. To assess whether polyenylphosphatidylcholine is active on established fibrosis, rats were also given CC14 for 8 weeks, and then divided into two groups and pair-fed a diet with or without polyenylphosphatidylcholine.
Results: After 8 weeks of CC14, the animals were sacrificed; chromotrope aniline blue and Sirius red stains of liver revealed fibrosis or cirrhosis in animals given CC14 alone, whereas the effect was attenuated in the polyenylphosphatidylcholine-supplemented animals. Hepatic collagen content was decreased by 25 to 32% (p < 0.05) and serum ALT and AST were significantly less increased. The expression of liver collagen type I mRNA was significantly increased in CC14 treated rats and was not significantly affected by polyenylphosphatidylcholine although there was a trend towards a lesser increase polyenylphosphatidylcholine also attenuated liver fibrosis produced by the injection of heterologous albumin. CC14-induced liver fibrosis regressed more rapidly in polyenylphosphatidylcholine-treated animals than controls, both histologically and by measurement of collagen (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Polyenylphosphatidylcholine (a) attenuates hepatic fibrosis induced by CC14 or human albumin in rats; and (b) accelerates the regression of pre-existing fibrosis.