Cytotoxicity of Kuwait weathered lake crude oil on rat hepatocytes: a histological and ultrastructural study


  • A. M. Safer
  • R. Meakins
  • L. Akbar
  • K. Abou Salem


crude oil, hepatocyte, toxicity, histopathology, DMBA


In the present study, the cytotoxic effects of Kuwaiti weathered crude oil and a potent carcinogen (DMBA) on rat liver cells were examined by light and electron microscopy at each of 4 sampling periods after the start of low dosing (0.5 and 0.2 mg/kg) of feed. Such effects were compared with those of olive oil and uncontaminated food-exposed controls. The results confirm a pronounced cell damage which statistically not significant (p<0.05). In crude oil, the organelle changes were variable and highly comparable to that of DMBA. The nuclei were mostly disintegrated while the cell showed demarcation of cytoplasmic vacuolization, lipid augmentation, and mitochondrial aberrations. The latter showed a remarkable association with the rough endoplasmic reticulum and lipid droplets, and appeared as decayed and diffused structures within the cell matrix. There was no comparable changes in the hepatocytes of animals fed with uncontaminated food except for the formation of lipid droplets in the olive oil-fed groups. Although the animals food was contaminated with Kuwaiti weathered oil formed in 1991 were exposed to extreme seasonal temperatures, yet the residues of such oil led to severe histopathological alterations in the liver cells which were similar to those of DMBA-treated cells. There is the need to pay attention to potential hazardous effects of the crude oil on environments.