Serum histamine and acetylcholine variations as new noninvasive biochemical markers in staging of experimental hepatocellular carcinoma

  • Nabil M. Abdel-HamidEmail author
  • Amer Hasan Abdullah
Original Article


Angiogenesis is a major prerequisite for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development and progression. The present study aims to assess the potential role of two endogenous regulators of angiogenesis histamine (His) and acetylcholine (Ach), as possible biochemical markers for staging of HCC. Five groups of rats were used in this study: a control healthy group (I), another 4 intoxicated groups used for the induction of HCC with a high dose of diethyl nitrosamine (DENA, 200 mg/kg, single I.P. dose), (II, III, IV, and V). Groups II, III, IV, and V were killed following 8, 16, 24, and 32 weeks after DENA injection, respectively. Serum level of His and Ach was estimated using high-performance liquid chromatography technique coupled with diode array detector (HPLC–DAD), and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was measured using ELISA technique along with liver histological examination for all groups. Progression of HCC was estimated by histopathological examination. The results exhibited prominent increase in serum His and Ach levels during the early stages of HCC in group II, III in comparison with the control, and then His serum level declined to the normal level during the last stage of HCC development (group V).However, Ach elevation continued. AFP serum level showed marked increase, till 32 weeks after hepatocarcinogenesis. The decreased histamine level, combined to elevated AFP, indicates an early stage, while continued elevation of Ach with decreased His levels indicates a later stage of HCC. The combination of these two neurotransmitters to AFP may contribute to a noninvasive biochemical staging for HCC.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Histamine Acetylcholine AFP Staging 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All the animal experiments were conducted in accordance with the guide for the care and use of laboratory animals of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Kafrelsheikh University, Egypt.

Informed consent

The experiment is not a clinical study, so not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of PharmacyKafrelsheikh UniversityKafr El SheikhEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of PharmacyAl-Farahidi UniversityBaghdadIraq
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceAl-Mustansiryah UniversityBaghdadIraq

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