The repeated administration of the hypolipidemic agent Su-13 437 (nafenopin) to neonatal rats roughly doubled the number of peroxisomes in the liver tissue and caused a sixfold volumetric expansion of the peroxisomal compartment. During the proliferative response, the size-distribution of the peroxisomes was reversibly altered, enlarged particles appearing in numbers varying according to the dose given. By means of a new method for quantitative autoradiography, it was shown that (a) the concentration of silver grains over peroxisomes was comparable to that found over the endoplasmic reticulum; (b) the peak incorporation of [3H]arginine into the peroxisomes was dealyed in comparison with that into the endoplasmic reticulum; (c) the label, once incorporated into the expanding peroxisomal compartment, displayed the same shift to large particles as did the whole population. These results are compatible with the biosynthetic pathway for peroxisomal catalase proposed earlier (cf. reference 12), and with the notion that the drug-induced size-shift might have resulted from progressive growth of a particular class of peroxisomes formed in the presence of the agent. Evidence is presented to show that during the recovery period the larger peroxisomes are removed preferentially.

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