Experimental Animals
Online ISSN : 1881-7122
Print ISSN : 1341-1357
ISSN-L : 0007-5124
Chinese tree shrews as a primate experimental animal eligible for the study of alcoholic liver disease: characterization and confirmation by MRI
Zhihai ShiHuijie XingChunli QiMeixia FangJiangnan FuXingwang Zhang
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2020 Volume 69 Issue 1 Pages 110-118


There has been a lack of suitable fatty liver models and characterization techniques for histopathological evaluation of alcoholic fatty liver (AFL). This work aimed to exploit an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for characterizing an alcohol-induced fatty liver model established in tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri chinese). The animals were treated with 15% alcohol for two weeks instead of drinking water to induce AFL. Blood alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alcohol, and liver malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations were determined, and the histopathology of the liver was checked by hematoxylin & eosin (HE) and Oil red O staining on day 0 and on the 4th, 7th and 14th days after alcohol feeding. MRI was used to trace the histopathological changes in the liver of tree shrews in real time. Compared with the control group, the levels of ALT, AST, and MDA significantly increased in the alcohol-induced group and were positively correlated with the induction time. HE and Oil red O staining revealed that a moderate fatty lesion occurred in the liver on the 4th day and that a serious AFL was successfully induced on the 14th day. MRI further confirmed the formation of AFL. MRI, as noninvasive examination technique, provides an alternative tool for accurate characterization of AFL in live subjects. It is comparable to HE or Oil red O staining for histopathological examination, but is more suitable by virtue of its high flexibility and compliance. The AFL model of tree shrews combined with MRI characterization can work as a platform for studying fatty liver diseases and medications for their treatment.

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© 2020 Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science
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