The LEC Rat pp 54-66 | Cite as

High Susceptibility to Spontaneous Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in LEC Rats

  • Ryuichi Masuda
  • Michihiro C. Yoshida
  • Motomichi Sasaki
  • Kimimaro Dempo
  • Michio Mori


Spontaneous hepatitis was first found in the LEC strain rat, which had been maintained conventionally at the Center for Experimental Plants and Animals, Hokkaido University [1]. The hepatitis appears suddenly in LEC rats at about 4 months after birth, and leads to a high mortality [2]. Characteristics of the disease are similar to those of fulminant hepatitis in humans, showing bilirubinuria, hyperbilirubinemia (frequently severe jaundice), subcutaneous bleeding, loss of body weight, increased levels of serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, glutamic pyruvic transaminase and alkaline Phosphatase, and single-cell necrosis or spotty necrosis of liver tissues with faint inflammatory cell response. Genetic analysis by crossing tests indicated that the disease has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance, being ruled by a single gene designated hts (symbol for hepatitis) [3]. Many rats died of submassive necrosis in liver tissues within 1 week after the onset of hepatitis. The remaining animals survived with chronic hepatitis more than 1 year and developed preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions of the liver [2]. Electron microscopic analysis failed to reveal any viral particles in the affected liver, and intraperitoneal injections of liver homogenates of jaundiced rats did not induce hepatitis in neonatal rats of another strain [2], although viral hepatitis has been reported to be associated with hepatocarcinogenesis in humans [4, 5], woodchucks [6], ground squirrels [7] and ducks [8]. Although the cause of hepatitis in LEC rats is different from that of viral hepatitis in the other cases, regenerative stimuli caused by hepatitis may promote development of liver tumors in all cases. In this report, the natural history of spontaneous hepatic lesions in LEC rats are described with regard to the anatomical and histopathological aspects. Furthermore, establishment and characterization of a hepatocellular carcinoma (hepatoma) cell line obtained from an LEC rat are reported.


Ground Squirrel Neoplastic Lesion Fulminant Hepatitis Primary Hepatoma Serum Glutamic Oxaloacetic Transaminase 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryuichi Masuda
  • Michihiro C. Yoshida
    • 1
  • Motomichi Sasaki
    • 2
  • Kimimaro Dempo
    • 1
  • Michio Mori
    • 3
  1. 1.Chromosome Research Unit, Faculty of ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporo, 060Japan
  2. 2.Sasaki Cancer InstituteChiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101Japan
  3. 3.Department of PathologySapporo Medical CollegeSapporo, 060Japan

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