Stereological Estimation and Zonal Distribution of the Hepatotoxic Effects of Doxorubicin on the Female Albino Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)


  • Khulud Nurani BSc Anat. Fourth-year Medical Student. University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Anne Pulei BSc Anat, MBChB, MSc. Anat, MMed. (Obs Gyn), MPH, University of Nairobi/Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Beda Olabu BSc Anat, MBChB, MSc. Anat, MMed (Radiology), University of Nairobi/Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Jeremiah Munguti BSc Anat, MBChB, MSc. Anat, University of Nairobi/Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Talha Chaudhry BSc Anat. Fourth-year Medical Student. University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Vincent Kipkorir BSc Anat. Fifth-year Medical Student. University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.



Doxorubicin, Hepatotoxicity, Liver, Stereology, Basic science, Liver disease, Pharmacology, Oncology, Cancer treatment, Animal experiment, Experiment, Albino rat


Background: Doxorubicin is an anti-neoplastic agent widely indicated for a variety of cancers. One of its adverse effects is hepatotoxicity which presents with hepatocyte necrosis, sinusoidal dilation, and fibrosis. However, there remains a dearth in the quantification and zonal distribution of this damage.

Methods: Twenty-three adult female Wister albino rats were placed into baseline, control, and experimental group receiving 2.5mg/kg bodyweight Doxorubicin intra-peritoneally thrice weekly for 3-weeks. Rats were sacrificed on days 0, 7, 14 and 21 and livers harvested for processing. Masson’s Trichrome was used in staining 7 µm thick sections. Images were taken and analyzed via STEPanizer, and data entered into SPSS for analysis.

Results: Rats treated with Doxorubicin had increased liver to body weight ratios from 5.00% at baseline to 6.15%, 6.69% and 7.56% on days 7, 14 and 21 (p=0.090). There was a decrease in hepatocyte densities from 51.88/mm2 to 48.61/mm2, 46.65/mm2 and 42.24/mm2 on day 7, 14 and 21 (p=0.779). Collagen fiber deposition increased from 0.12±0.06 cm3 to 0.47±0.55 cm3, 1.64±0.11 cm3 and 1.88±0.24 cm3 on days 7, 14 and 21 (p=0.009). Deposition was greatest periportally and least pericentrally. Volume of sinusoidal spaces increased from 5.46±0.50 cm3 to 5.49±0.15 cm3, 5.53±0.24 cm3 and 5.50±0.17 cm3 on days 7, 14 and 21 respectively (p=0.827).  Sinusoids were larger pericentrally than periportally.

Conclusion: Doxorubicin administration is associated with an increase in volume density of fibrotic tissue and sinusoidal spaces but decrease in hepatocytes. The quantitative changes presented may facilitate histopathological grading of Doxorubicin-induced hepatotoxicity.


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Collagen Fiber Profile in Rat Livers Following Doxorubicin Administration



How to Cite

Nurani, K., Pulei, A., Olabu, B., Munguti, J., Chaudhry, T., & Kipkorir, V. (2023). Stereological Estimation and Zonal Distribution of the Hepatotoxic Effects of Doxorubicin on the Female Albino Rat (Rattus Norvegicus). International Journal of Medical Students, 11(3), 184–190.

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