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Egypt. J. Exp. Biol. (Zoo.). 2011; 7(2): 139-151


Mona Ramadan Al-shathly, Mujallid M. Ibraheem, Al-Sharif E. Abdul Aziz.


Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) is widely used as an additive to gasoline to increase the oxygen content and reduce pollution. Human exposure to MTBE occurs due to leakage of gasoline storage tank, and the MTBE's high stability and mobility in ground water. This study was conducted to investigate the histological and ultra-structural effect of the MTBE on the hepatocytes alone and combined with vitamin c. 30 adult male and female MF1 mice were divided to a control group (n=10), which was given normal water by the stomach tube and a treated group (n=20), further subdivided into two groups. The first group was given 1/40 of MTBE dissolved in water and the second given vitamin c with 1/40 of MTBE (five days/week for six weeks). All mice were weighted before and weekly during the treatment. Mice were dissected to obtain the liver which was weighted, cut and placed in special histological and ultra-structural fixative solutions. The results showed that male weights were elevated across all treatments, while sever decrease were observed in the female weights and increased at the sixth week for some groups. Regarding the light microscopic studies, across all the treatment, males were showing increase and/or decrease in cell size, granular cytoplasm, pyknosis and/or lysis of the nucleus, dilatation of sinusoids, and enlargement of kupffer cells. As for the females, decrease and/or lysis of cytoplasm was shown accompanied with generated vacuoles, and the presence of balloon cells. The hepatocytes for both males and females in the ultra-structural studies showed increase in the rough endoplasmic reticulum which appeared in elongated and vacuole forms, increase in the number and form of mitochondria, where intra-mitochondrial inclusion were seen. The obtained data indicated that MTBE is considered sub-lethal substance with moderate effect on the cells, and the vitamin C can act as pro-oxidant and stimulate the formation of free radicals which cause damage on the cells with MTBE.

Key words: MTBE, Vitamin C, Liver, mice

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