Bisphosphonate’s effect in hepatic rat cells: An electron microscopy study

Theodora Papamitsou, Sofia Karachrysafi, Alexandros Toskas, Eva-Maria Dietrich, Alexandra Kostelidou, Antonia Sioga


Purpose: Bisphosphonates (BPs) are selective inhibitors of osteoclast mediated bone resorption, used for the treatment of bone disorders as well as for tumors, whereas long-term bisphosphonate use is associated with adverse gastrointestinal effects. The objective of the study is to investigate the possible effects of BPs in hepatic structure. Materials and methods: Specimens from the liver of ten female 12-month old Wistar rats were used as control group and of ten female 12-month old Wistar rats to which Alendronate (Fosamax, Merck) was administered per os for 13 weeks, were used as experimental group. Samples were observed under a Transmission Electron Microscope. Results: In the experimental group, extensive depletion of the glycogen, different sized vacuoles and enlarged sinusoids were found in hepatic cells. Furthermore, there was lack of microvilli of hepatocytes in the Disse’s space. The same findings were reported in all sections of the experimental group. Conclusion: This is the first study of liver structure after the administration of bisphosphonates, with electron microscopy. This report, indicate the presence of mild hepatic damage in liver tissues studied. Our study demonstrates a possible correlation between alendronate administration and hepatic cell function, nevertheless due to the small specimen further research is needed.

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