Pre-Fibrotic Changes are Induced in the Guinea Pig Liver in Response to Cardiorespiratory, Central Nervous System, and Gastrointestinal Stressors
To determine the relationship between stress and the incidence of liver fibrosis, 140 guinea pigs were
exposed to various stressors, and their post-mortem livers were assessed. Four stress groups-
cardiorespiratory (CR), central nervous system (CNS), gastrointestinal (GI), and combined (Cd)were
designated in accordance with the stressor(s) experienced and were compared to unstressed control
subjects. By blood chemistry analysis, the most pervasive findings were decreased glucose and
increased amylase. Stress group blood glucose levels ranged from 22% to 38% below that of non-
stressed controls, and serum amylase was increased by 35% to 68% relative to controls. The reduction
in glucose was significant in the CR and GI groups, and the elevation in amylase was significant in the
CR, GI, and Cd groups. Pathologically, the most frequent finding among the four groups was fatty
change, present in 44% of stressed subjects, followed by passive congestion, observed in 40%. The Cd
group demonstrated a significantly increased incidence of congestion, while both the Cd and GI groups
showed a significantly increased incidence of fatty change. Subjects in whom congestion was detected
showed a 1.7-fold greater fibroblast proliferation than subjects in whom fatty change was seen. The
most extensive pathological changes were manifested in the Cd group, in the form of congestion,
hemorrhage, fatty change, and fibroblast proliferation. Among the three single-stress groups, the
greatest degree of fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition, and hence the greatest potential for
fibrosis, was evident in the GI group. The fibroblastosis in the GI group was statistically significant,
presenting a direct pathological indication of pre-fibrotic change. These results provide preliminary
evidence that stress is capable of inducing pathological processes in the liver that may lead to fibrosis
and, ultimately, to cirrhosis.
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