Journal of Morphological Sciences
Journal of Morphological Sciences
Original Article

Destructive effects of 4-methylimidazole on histomorphology of liver


Downloads: 1
Views: 212


Background & aims: Food coloring is being done commercially in the food products industry these days which include large number of food dyes including caramel colors. 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI) is a component of various caramel colored food products such as bakery products, beer, soy sauces, gravy, colas and other soft drinks which are consumed daily. Humans can be exposed to 4-MEI by ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. Ingestion is the most common route of exposure. Methods: The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects of 4-MEI consumption on liver in albino rats. Adult male Wistar albino rats weighing 150-200 grams were procured for the study and were divided into control and experimental groups. The experimental animals were given 4-MEI orally by gavage at a dose of 250mg/kg body weight daily for a period of one month while the control animals received distilled water. The animals were euthanized under ether anesthesia at the end of experiment within 24 hours of last dose by perfusion with formal saline. The liver was dissected out and processed for histopathological examination. Results: The histopathological observations of liver in experimental rats showed features of focal hepatocellular degeneration with mononuclear cell infiltration, kupffer cell hyperplasia, increased polyploidy and hepatocytic vacuolation. The findings in the present study strongly suggest hepatocellular damage caused by ingestion of 4-methylimidazole which is found in caramel colorants used routinely in food industry.


caramel, 4-methyimidazole, hepatic damage.


ASAKAWA, M. and NOGUCHI, T. Food poisonings by ingestion of cyprinid fish. Toxins, 2014, vol. 6, n. 2, p. 539-555. PMid:24476713.

BRAUNBECK, T., GÖRGE, G., STORCH, V. and NAGEL, R. Hepatic steatosis in zebra fish (Brachydaniorerio) induced by longterm exposure to gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 1990, vol. 19, n. 3, p. 355-374. PMid:1694756.

CHAN PC. NTP technical report on the toxicity studies of 2-and 4-methylimidazole (CAS No. 693-98-1 and 822-36-6) administered in feed to F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. Toxicity Report Series. 2004;(67):1-G12.

CHAN, PC., HILL, GD., KISSLING, GE. and NYSKA, A. Toxicity and carcinogenicity studies of 4-methylimidazole in F344/n rats and B6c3f1 mice. Archives of Toxicology, 2008, vol. 82, n. 1, p. 45-53. PMid:17619857.

GENTRIC G, DESDOUETS C, CELTON-MORIZUR S. Hepatocytes polyploidization and cell cycle control in liver physiopathology. International Journal of Hepatology. 2012;2012:1-8.

HENICS, T. and WHEATLEY, DN. Cytoplasmic vacuolation, adaptation and cell death: a view on new perspectives and features. Biology of the Cell, 1999, vol. 91, n. 7, p. 485-498. PMid:10572624.

KAMUF, W., NIXON, A., PARKER, O. and BARNUM JUNIOR, GC. Overview of caramel colors. Cereal Foods World, 2003, vol. 48, n. 2, p. 64-69.

MONFARED AL Biochemical and histomorphometric studies on the liver rats administrated with glycyrrhizaglabra extracts. Avian Biology Research, 2013, vol. 7, n. 2, p. 67-71.

MUNGLANG, M., NAGAR, M. and PRAKASH, R. Liver in carbaryl treated rats- a morphological and morphometric study. Journal of the Anatomical Society of India, 2009, vol. 58, n. 1, p. 6-9.

PERDOK, HB. and LENG, RA. Hyperexcitability in cattle fed ammoniated roughages. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 1987, vol. 17, n. 2, p. 121-143.

PETRUCI, JF., PEREIRA, EA. and CARDOSO, AA. Determination of 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole in caramel colors by capillary electrophoresis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2013, vol. 61, n. 9, p. 2263-2267. PMid:23379790.

SHOKRZADEH M, CHABRA A, AHMADI A, NAGHSHVAR F, HABIBI E, SALEHI F and ASSADPOUR S. Hepatoprotective effects of Zataria Multiflora ethanolic extract on liver toxicity Induced by cyclophosphamide in mice. Drug Research. 2014. PMID:24696425.

STANCULEŢ, N., GRIGORAŞ, A., AVADANEI, R., FLOAREASTRAT, A., AMALINEI, C. and CARUNTU ID. Relationship between kupffer cells, inflammation and fibrosis in chronic hepatitis B and C. Revista medico-chirurgicală̆ a Societă̆ţ ̜ ii de Medici ş̧i Naturaliş̧ti din Iaş̧i, 2013, vol. 117, n. 4, p. 880-889.

WANG, JB., KONG, WJ., WANG, HJ., ZHAO, HP., XIAO, HY., DAI, CM., XIAO, XH., ZHAO, YL., JIN, C., ZHANG, L., FANG, F. and LI, RS. Toxic effects caused by rhubarb (Rheum palmatum L.) are reversed on immature and aged rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2011, vol. 134, n. 2, p. 216-220. PMid:21163343.

WEISS, WP., CONRAD, HR., MARTIN, CM., CROSS, RF. and SHOCKEY, WL. Etiology of ammoniated hay toxicosis. Journal of Animal Science, 1986, vol. 63, n. 2, p. 525-532. PMid:3759687.

WELLS, MY., WEISBRODE, SE., MAURER, JK., CAPEN, CC. and BRUCE, RD. Variable hepatocellular vacuolization associated with glycogen in rabbits. Toxicologic Pathology, 1988, vol. 16, n. 3, p. 360-365. PMid:3194658.

5a32b37d0e8825b5667bc49f jms Articles
Links & Downloads

J. Morphol. Sci.

Share this page
Page Sections