No direct evidence that genetically modified (GM) food may represent a possible danger for health has been reported so far; however, the scientific literature in this field is still quite poor. Therefore, we carried out an ultrastructural morphometrical and immunocytochemical study on hepatocytes from mice fed on GM soybean, in order to investigate eventual modifications of nuclear components of these cells involved in multiple metabolic pathways related to food processing. Our observations demonstrate significant modifications of some nuclear features in GM-fed mice. In particular, GM fed-mice show irregularly shaped nuclei, which generally represents an index of high metabolic rate, and a higher number of nuclear pores, suggestive of intense molecular trafficking. Moreover, the roundish nucleoli of control animals change in more irregular nucleoli with numerous small fibrillar centres and abundant dense fibrillar component in GM-fed mice, modifications typical of increased metabolic rate. Accordingly, nucleoplasmic (snRNPs and SC-35) and nucleolar (fibrillarin) splicing factors are more abundant in hepatocyte nuclei of GM-fed than in control mice. In conclusion, our data suggest that GM soybean intake can influence hepatocyte nuclear features in young and adult mice; however, the mechanisms responsible for such alterations remain unknown.
2002 by Japan Society for Cell Biology