A stereological comparison of the hepatic parenchymal cells from 125-g male rats given a daily injection for 6 days of either 5 mg of cortisone acetate or saline (controls) was carried out with both light and electron microscopy. Cortisone treatment results in an increase in average parenchymal cell cytoplasmic volume from 5100 to 5800 µ3 and a decrease in average nuclear diameter from 7.1 to 6.5 µ. The volume of the average mitochondrion is increased fourfold in midzonal and peripheral regions of hepatic lobules, and there is a decrease in the number of mitochondria per cell such that the total mitochondrial volume per cell remains approximately unchanged. The numbers of peroxisomes are reduced, while the numbers of lysosomes and lipid droplets are increased in all parts of the lobules. The average volume of glycogen is doubled in all cells. The areas of membranes of the smooth- and rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum are decreased to one-half and two-thirds of their control values, respectively. The effects of cortisone on these various structural elements is discussed with respect to steroid-related alterations in biochemical processes.

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