The chronic hepatotoxic effects of mixed pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) from the poisonous plant tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and the ability of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and cysteine to alter these hepatic effects were studied in male rats. In control animals, the i.p. administration of a single dose of mixed PAs, 160 mg/kg, produced marked fibrosis, biliary hyperplasia, megalocytosis, necrosis and calcification in liver 8 weeks post injection. In contrast, consumption of 0.75% BHA diet 10 days before and 14 days after PA administration reduced the incidence and/or completely prevented the occurrence of these pathological changes. Similar treatment with 1% cysteine, however, only reduced the severity of the hepatic lesions.
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