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Abstract

Ultrastructural studies of the liver of rats given diethylmaleate (DEM) (0.7 ml per kg body, i.p.) weight revealed marked alterations of the configuration of the Golgi complex in all hepatocytes. This consisted in dilatation of the cisternae leading to the formation of large cysts. The alteration was more prominent 15 min after administration of the drug, coincident with a 2-fold increase of bile flow and a decrease of hepatic glutathione to 15% of controls. The morphology returned to normal at 45 min after DEM administration together with a return of bile flow to control values whereas hepatic glutathione level remained markedly depressed for 2 hr, rising slowly afterwards. No other signs of altered hepatic morphology developed up to 5 hr. The morphological changes correlated with altered bile flow induced by DEM, suggesting involvement of the Golgi complex in biliary excretion of osmotically active glutathione conjugates of DEM.