The changes occurring in rat hepatocytes during a 5 day period of treatment with phenobarbital were determined by morphometric and biochemical methods, particular attention being paid to the endoplasmic reticulum. The hepatocytic cytoplasm played an overwhelming part in the liver hypertrophy, while the hepatocytic nuclei contributed to only a moderate extent. The endoplasmic reticulum accounted for more than half of the increase in cytoplasmic volume. The increase in the volume and number of hepatocytic nuclei in the course of phenobarbital treatment was associated with changes in the ploidy pattern. Until the 2nd day of treatment both the rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and the smooth-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum (SER) participated in the increase in volume and surface of the whole endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Subsequently, the values for RER fell again to control levels, whereas those for SER continued to increase, with the result that by the 5th day of treatment the SER constituted the dominant cytoplasmic element. The specific volume of mitochondria and microbodies (peroxisomes) remained constant throughout the duration of the experiment, while that of the dense bodies increased. The specific number of mitochondria and microbodies displayed a significant increase, associated with a decrease in their mean volume. The phenobarbital-induced increase in the phospholipid and cytochrome P-450 content of the microsomes, as well as in the activities of microsomal reduced nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate-cytochrome c reductase and N-demethylase, was correlated with the morphometric data on the endoplasmic reticulum.

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