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Intracellular distribution of copper in the liver of copper-loaded sheep--a subcellular fractionation study

Kumaratilake, J.S. and Howell, J.Mc.C. (1989) Intracellular distribution of copper in the liver of copper-loaded sheep--a subcellular fractionation study. Journal of Comparative Pathology, 101 (2). pp. 161-76.

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Eighteen ewes in two groups were dosed orally with CuSO4 to induce chronic Cu toxicity. Copper dosing was stopped at the first rise of acid AP activity in the serum in group 1 sheep and on the first day of haemolysis in group 2 sheep. Liver samples were obtained 1 week prior to the start of Cu dosing, at the first rise of acid phosphatase (AP) activity in serum and on the first day of haemolysis. These liver samples were homogenized and were separated into nuclear (N), heavy mitochondrial (MH), light mitochondrial (ML), microsomal (MI) and cytosolic (CY) fractions by centrifugation. The Cu concentration and specific activities of AP were determined in the liver, LH and subcellular fractions. The composition of the fractions was studied by light and electron microscopy. In the predosing biopsies, the concentration and percentage of Cu and the total specific activity of AP were highest in the ML fractions. With increasing Cu loading, the concentration of Cu in all fractions increased; the percentage of Cu increased in the N and MH fractions, decreased in the ML and MI fractions and was maintained at a constant level in the CY fractions. The total specific activities of AP in LH, N, MH, MI and CY fractions were increased and the activity was highest in the MH fraction. The results indicate that the increase in the concentration of Cu in liver cells was predominantly in lysosomes and cytosol. Furthermore, it is suggested that the necrosis of isolated hepatocytes observed in chronic Cu-poisoned sheep may be due to a saturation of the uptake of Cu into the lysosomal system of the cell, leading to the accumulation of toxic levels of Cu in the cytosol.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 1989 Academic Press
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