Female Sprague‐Dawley rats were used to study effects of lithium carbonate on the ultrastructure of the rat kidney. Experimental rats received daily intraperitoneal injections of lithium carbonate in dosages of 10, 30 or 100 mg/kg/day. These animals were killed on day 12 to 60. Control rats were either non‐injected or injected with either sodium chloride or sodium carbonate. Kidneys from control rats showed no abnormal changes. The 10 and 30 mg/kg lithium carbonate dosages caused progressive mitochondrial swelling, dilatation of cisternae of rough endoplasmic reticulum and occasional swelling of apical cytoplasm in tubular cells localized in the distal portion of the nephron. The 100 mg/kg lithium dosage produced damage in all portions of the nephron. However, the most severe damage, consisting of mitochondrial swelling, dilatation of the rough endoplasmic reticulum, apical cytoplasmic rarefaction and liquefaction, karyolysis and karyorrhexis was noted in the distal convoluted tubules and collecting ducts. The present study demonstrated that low dosages of lithium carbonate do affect the structure of the rat kidney.
ASJC Scopus subject areas