Protective role of zinc in nickel induced hepatotoxicity in rats.Chem Biol Interact 2004; 150(2):199-209CB
This study was planned to determine the protective role of zinc, if any, in attenuating the toxicity induced by nickel sulfate in rat liver. Female Sprague Dawley (SD) rats received either nickel alone in the dose of 800 mg/l in drinking water, zinc alone in the dose of 227 mg/l in drinking water, and nickel plus zinc or drinking water alone for a total duration of eight weeks. The effects of different treatments were studied on various parameters in rat liver which include antioxidant enzymes, levels of nickel and zinc and histoarchitecture at the light microscopic level. Further, the activities of hepatic marker enzymes AST and ALT were also studied in rat serum. Nickel treatment to the normal control animals, resulted in a significant increase in lipid peroxidation and enzyme activities of catalase and glutathione-S-transferase. On the contrary, nickel treatment to normal rats caused a significant inhibition in the levels of reduced glutathione. Superoxide dismutase activity was found to be decreased which however was not significant. Interestingly, when Zn was supplemented to nickel treated rats, the activities of catalase, and glutathione-S-transferase and the levels of GSH and lipid peroxidation came back to within normal limits. Activities of serum AST and ALT were increased significantly following nickel treatment to normal rats. Simultaneous zinc administration to nickel treated rats tended to restore the altered levels of AST and ALT. Normal control and zinc treated animals revealed normal histology of liver. On the other hand, nickel treated animals showed alterations in normal hepatic histoarchitecture which comprise of vacuolization of the hepatocytes and dilatation of sinusoids as well as increase in the number of bi-nucleated cells. Administration of zinc to nickel treated rats resulted in marked improvement in the structure of hepatocytes, thus emphasizing the protective potential of zinc in restoring the altered hepatic histoarchitecture. The nickel administration to normal rats indicated increased concentrations of nickel and decreased concentrations of zinc. However, zinc effectively brought the altered levels of nickel and zinc to within normal range. The study concludes that zinc has the potential in alleviating the toxic effects of nickel in rat liver because of its property to induce metallothionein (S-rich protein) as a free radical scavenger, or its indirect action in reducing the levels of oxygen reactive species.