A histologic, histochemical and electron microscopic study was carried out on the rat exocrine pancreas 6-96 hr after a single allyl alcohol intake. Histologically, acidophilia, necrosis and vacuolation of the pancreatic acinar cells were observed. Histochemically, a low but evident alcohol dehydrogenase activity could focally be demonstrated in the pancreatic acinar cell cytoplasm of the experimental and control rats. By electron microscopy, cytoplasmic lipid droplets, mitochondrial degeneration and necrosis were found in the acinar, centroacinar and ductular cells of the pancreas. The findings are regarded as the consequence of the toxic action of acrolein that originates after allyl alcohol oxidation by alcohol dehydrogenase. Analogies between the liver and the pancreas in their response to acute allyl alcohol and chronic ethanol intake are discussed.
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