1. Lipid peroxidation and hepatic fibrogenesis were investigated in 25 carbon tetrachloride-treated rats and in 25 control animals. Rats were further divided into two groups to receive either a standard diet or one supplemented with zinc. From each group, animals were killed at weeks 3 and 18 of the experiment for histological and biochemical assessments which included hepatic lipid peroxide and collagen concentrations and plasma zinc concentration as well as the hepatic activities of proline hydroxylase and collagenase.
2. Results indicated that oral zinc supplementation was associated with a decrease in lipid peroxidation (mean 51%; P<0.05), collagen deposition (mean 32%; P< 0.001) and proline hydroxylase activity (mean 30%; P<0.05) at week 18, together with an increase in collagenase activity (mean 208%; P<0.01) at week 3, in carbon tetrachloride-treated rats.
3. There was a significant direct correlation between lipid peroxidation and proline hydroxylase activity in carbon tetrachloride-treated rats (r = 0.52; P<0.01) and also a significant inverse correlation between lipid peroxidation and plasma zinc concentration in these animals (r = −0.62; P<0.001).
4. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that hepatic lipid peroxidation plays an important role in the aetiology of hepatic fibrogenesis and that zinc mitigates the process.