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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 1 / 2005  

  Abstract:  Histological and Electronomicroscopical Studies of the Thymus of the Rats Treated with Therapeutical Doses of Nurofen. Nowadays, the frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) is often correlated with different side effects, which can seriously disturb the health of the treated organisms. The aim of the present study was to determine the features, dynamics and character (reversible or irreversible) of the alterations induced by a therapeutical dose of Nurofen at the level of the central lymphoid organ - thymus. Our results sustain and complete the previous investigations concerning the toxic effect of this drug upon the lymphoid structures, demonstrating that Nurofen has a moderate toxic action upon the thymus materialized in the perturbation of the vascular component, and especially of the cellular component (thymocytes and epithelio-reticular cells). The congestion, stasis, oedemas and diffuse intravascular coagulation phenomena seem to induce, maintain and aggravate the degenerative processes which affect the cellular component of the thymus. The alteration of the cellular component consists of a moderate cell (thymocyte) depletion, the sensitivity of which seems to depend on their age, the most affectd being the lymphoblasts in the cortex of the lobules. By electron-microscopy, it could be observed that the thymocyte division in the cortex of the lobules was moderately decreased, while many thymocytes have pyknotic nuclei, and a peculiar shape as a consequence of the lysis process. At the level of the medulla, both the epithelio-reticular cells and especially thymocytes are affected by some degenerative processes (these cells having a vacuolised cytoplasm, pyknotic or altered nuclei, swollen and greatly modified mitochondria, and, zonally, presenting broken cell membranes which allow the cell constituents to spill out). In the spaces created by the lysis processes and in some perivascular areas, it could be noticed a moderate collagen proliferation correlated with a marked increase of the number of eosinophils, macrophages with an intense phagocytic activity, mastocytes and Hassall corpuscles. Generally, both the histopathological and ultrastructural modifications induced by Nurofen have a zonal, discrete, and temporary character, intense recovery processes being observed a short time after the administration of this drug has been stopped.  
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