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    STUDIA BIOLOGIA - Issue no. 2 / 2006  

  Abstract:  Male Wistar rats were maintained in our animal facility on a normal diet, with free access to water, for about 16 weeks (the non-alcoholic control, C), while. another group of rats (A) was supplemented daily with 1.5 ml of 48% ethanol/100 g body weight. At the end of the period, 24 hrs before the sacrifice, part of the rats in each of the two groups were injected with either 0.5 or 2 mg bacterial endotoxin (LPS)/kg body weight. The four subgroups thus resulting were denoted as 0.5LPS, 2LPS, A+0.5LPS and A+ 2LPS, respectively. After animal sacrifice, most of the liver was used for preparation of mitochondria, on which several functional assays were performed in vitro, as previously described (Tarba and Suărăşan, 2003a; 2004a), while a small piece of the original hepatic tissue as well as mitochondrial sediment from the incubation vessel were prepared for electron microscopy. The ultrastructural results obtained on control and alcoholic rats were fully described previously (Tarba and Florea, 2005a; 2006b) while the present paper is devoted to the results obtained with the four endotoxin-treated groups. A certain similarity can be observed between the effects recorded in group A and in the subgroups treated with endotoxin (LPS groups). Thus, the cell nuclei have large nucleoli, with intense activity, the smooth endoplasmic reticulum is highly dilated and vesiculated and lipid droplets are present in cells where peroxysomes are rare. Also, the mitochondria in situ have an irregular (polymorphous) shape, especially in group 2LPS. However, unlike in the case of the alcoholic rats, where a matrix rarefaction can be observed, LPS treatment seems to be associated with an increase of matrix electron density, especially in group 2LPS. Administration of the high dose of endotoxin aggravates the situation of ethanol-fed rats (group A+2LPS), while the low dose seems to have little additional effect (group A+0.5LPS), although both doses tend to increase the proportion of apoptotic nuclei.  
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