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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 2 / 2001  
         
  Article:   HISTOLOGICAL AND ULTRASTRUCTURAL STUDIES OF THE RAT THYMUS AFTER ADMINISTRATION OF EPIRUBICIN.

Authors:  CRISTINA PAŞCA, CONSTANTIN CRĂCIUN, ERIKA KIS, VICTORIA-DOINA SANDU.
 
       
         
  Abstract:  Among the cytostatics which belong to the anthracycline family, Epirubicin is an antineoplastic agent frequently used in the treatment of many malignant diseases in humans. Its antitumoural activity is correlated with a severe toxicity upon hematopoietic structures. Therefore, our investigations intended to evaluate the structural and ultrastructural modifications induced by a single therapeutic dose of 60 mg Epirubicin/m2 body surface in the thymus of white Wistar rats. By light and electron microscopy it could be observed that this dose of Epirubicin determines certain alterations. Histologically, a marked necrosis could be seen, accompanied by necrobiosis and agglutination of the thymocytes, especially in the cortical areas, which contributes to an atrophied or vestigial aspect of the thymic lobules. Besides, these cellular modifications appear to be correlated with moderate vascular disturbances: stasis, congestion and massive extravasation of he erythrocytes. The electron microscopy confirms the histological data and shows that both the epithelio-reticular cells and thymocytes (but especially the latter ones) are affected by some degenerative processes consisting of the appearance of a vacuolised cytoplasm, many modified nuclei (pycnotic, retracted and with a peculiar disposition of the chromatin), swollen and greatly alterated mitochondria and, in some areas, the cell membrane is broken and the cell constituents are split out. In addition, both in cortex and medulla of the lobules there was a large number of apoptotic bodies. In the spaces which were created by the lysis processes and in some perivascular areas a massive collagen proliferation appeared. The involution and fibrosis of the thymus were correlated with a marked increase of the eosinophil, macrophage and mastocyte number. The toxic effect of the Epirubicin could be observed immediately after the treatment and then, it aggravated progressively, with a moderate recovery tendency at the end of the experimental period.  
         
     
         
         
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