In the present work, the effect of chronic lead intoxication in two doses (5mg/kg body weight, as therapeutic dose and 10mg/kg body weight as sublethal dose) on the ultrastructure of the rat liver was studied. The rats were classified into three groups: one control group (10 rats), experimental group A (20 rats) who received a therapeutic dose of lead acetate orally for six months, and experimental group B (20 rats) who received a sublethal dose of lead acetate orally for six months. Ten rats of both groups A & B were sacrificed one month after the last given dose (recovery rats). Small slices of the liver of the rats of all groups were processed for electron microscopic examination.
The livers of group A rats showed a few pathological changes in the form of proliferation of both rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, multiple areas of glycogen depletion with a few lysosomes and fat droplets. Group B rats showed marked pathological changes in both hepatocytes and Van Kuppfer’s cells. The cytoplasm of the hepatocytes showed intracytoplasmic vacuoles and a few degenerative granules. The recovery animals of group A showed good recovery, while those of group B showed only partial recovery.