Halothane hepatitis in an animal model: Time course of hepatic damage

K. M. Knights, G. K. Gourlay, M. P. De La Hall, J. F. Adams, M. J. Cousins

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The present study extends previous reports of hepatic damage 24 h after halothane anaesthesia in the phenobarbitone pretreated hypoxic rat model by fully characterizing the lesion during the time course of its onset and recovery. Phenobarbitone treated animals exposed to halothane (1% for 2 h in 14% inspired oxygen) were killed 1, 2, 4, 6, 12 and 24 h and 2, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 30 days after commencement of the anaesthetic period. Blood was collected 1 day before the administration of halothane and at the time of killing for determination of serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a biochemical index of hepatic damage. Liver tissue was obtained immediately at post-mortem for histological examination. Serum ALT was increased at the end of the anaesthetic period, i.e. 2 h, with peak levels occurring at 12-24 h and remaining elevated for 3 days after exposure. Minor changes in liver histology were evident at 2 h in 50% of the animals and by 6 h all animals had mild hepatic injury. The extent of the necrosis was maximal at 24 h and this was sustained until 3 days. By 5 days after exposure minimal evidence of liver damage was observed and animals killed at 30 days had morphologically normal livers. Elevation of serum ALT or changes in liver histology were not observed in other treatment groups. The early onset of damage at 2-6 h is in keeping with direct hepatotoxicity associated with the biotransformation of halothane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-624
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Experimental Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1987
Externally publishedYes


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