Immunohistochemical study of hepatic fibrosis induced in rats by multiple galactosamine injections



Multiple injections of D-galactosamine induce liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in rats. The purpose of this immunopathological study was to correlate inflammation and hepatic extracellular matrix remodeling after repeated administration of galactosamine. Rats were given 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 140 intraperitoneal injections of D-galactosamine (500 mg/kg body wt, three times weekly). Controls received injections of saline solution. Cryostat sections of liver tissue obtained on biopsy or autopsy were immunostained with a panel of monoclonal and polyclonal monospecific antibodies reactive with macrophages, T and B lymphocytes, desmin, the extracellular matrix components fibronectin; laminin; collagen types I, III and IV; and the fibronectin receptor α5ß1. Total RNA was extracted and Northern-blot analysis was performed with a specific cDNA probe for rat collagen type III. Spotty liver cell necrosis and mild portal and parenchymal inflammation was seen after 10 injections of galactosamine. After 20 to 40 injections, expansion of portal tracts, prominent bile ductular proliferation and gradual formation of fibrous septa were encountered with the development of cirrhosis at later intervals. These progressive histological changes were paralleled by a gradual increase of desmin-positive cells in developing septa with deposition of fibronectin; collagen types I, III and IV; and laminin. Northern-blot analysis showed that this accumulation of extracellular matrix was not accompanied by increase of mRNA for collagen type III. In conclusion, repetitive administration of galactosamine causes progressive liver disease with prominent bile ductule proliferation and development of fibrous septa. These pathological alterations bear some resemblance to the morphological changes in chronic biliary disease in human beings. (Hepatology 1994;19:775–781).