Even though diethylcarbamazine (DEC) is widely used in the treatment for filaricide, its pharmacological potential is little explored. Protein malnutrition is highly incident in many populations in developing and under-developed countries and some of these populations are affected by lymphatic filariasis. The objective of the present study was to analyze the DEC effect in the hepatocytes of malnourished mice. Forty-eight male C57BL/6 mice were separated into groups: a control group (C, D25 and D50) and a malnourished group (M, MD25 and MD50). After being induced to malnutrition, the mice were submitted to 12 days of treatment with DEC solutions in concentrations of 25 and 50 mg/kg which were orally administered. Biochemical analyses were performed and liver fragments were processed for light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. For the enzymatic dosages, it was possible to observe a significant reduction in serum albumin in group M (2.52 ± 0.415 g/dL) when compared with the control group (C) (3.27 ± 0.427 g/dL) which received no treatment. The histological analysis of the M group showed evident hepatocellular damage. However, groups MD25 and MD50 returned to basal levels. Groups M, MD25 and MD50 presented a significant increase in alkaline phosphate when compared with the control group (C). Histological analysis of group M showed evident hepatic steatosis, which characterizes hepatocellular damage. Groups MD25 and MD50 showed a decrease in steatosis. An ultrastructural analysis of the hepatocytes in groups MD25 and MD50 confirmed a reduction of lipid droplets. It is possible that the DEC effects have contributed to the reduction of hepatic changes caused by malnutrition.

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