The popular seafood squid contains high levels of naturally occurring amines such as dimethylamine (DMA) trimethylamine and trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). The hepatotoxicity and hepatocarcinogenicity of squid with or without exogenous nitrite were investigated in rats. Acute necrosis including polymorphogenic neutrophil infiltration, haemorrhage and cholangiofibrosis were observed in the livers of most rats fed squid. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was induced in two out of 12 rats (16%) by feeding 10% squid in Purina rat chow for 10 months. The incidence of HCC was increased to four out of 10 rats (33%) when 0.3% NaNO2 was added to the above diet. At the end of the experiment a marked elevation of serum γ-glutamate transferase was observed in treated groups, but no significant changes in the activities of serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase and glutamic-pyruvic transaminase were detected. Vitamin C (0.3%) gave partial protection against hepatic damage. The concentration of DMA in squid is estimated to be 0.19%; this concentration did not induce HCC under the experimental conditions used. Therefore it is suggested that another major naturally occurring amine in squid, TMAO, could be one of the important factors involved in the induction of hepatotoxicity and hepatocarcinogenicity in rats.
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