Effects of aluminum on the liver following high-dose enteral administration to rats

Gordon L. Klein*, Thomas C. Lee, Peggy A. Mann, Nancy L. Miller, Allen C. Alfrey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Parenteral administration of aluminum (Al) to animals can result in hepatobiliary dysfunction, including elevated total serum bile acid concentration, reduced bile flow, and reduction of mixed function oxidase activities. Despite substantial hepatic Al accumulation, biliary Al excretion is negligible. We studied the effects of enteral administration of pharmacologic doses of Al to rats in order to see if by this route Al also produced hepatobiliary dysfunction or if biliary Al excretion was enhanced following enteral administration, protecting the liver from the effects of Al. Six rats were given 100 mg/kg/day of Al for 14 days as Al citrate by duodenal cannula. Pair-fed littermate controls were given sodium citrate. Serum Al and urinary Al/creatinine were significantly higher in Alfed rats than in controls. Liver Al was significantly increased in the Alfed group, but very low when compared to liver Al concentration with intravenous Al administration. Biliary Al was only 2 ± 1% of urinary Al in the experimental group. Serum bile acid concentration and bile flow were not different between groups. We conclude that Al given in pharmacologic doses is absorbed but does not accumulate in the liver. We hypothesize that a slow rate of Al absorption may not overwhelm plasma transferrin carrying capacity or renal Al excretory capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-107
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Aluminum
  • Bile acids
  • Biliary aluminum excretion
  • Hepatobiliary dysfunction


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