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Am J Clin Pathol. 2004 Mar;121(3):324-9.

The canals of hering might represent a target of methotrexate hepatic toxicity.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Aristotle University Medical School, Thessaloniki, Greece.


Methotrexate treatment for psoriasis is known to cause hepatic fibrosis in some patients, which might progress to cirrhosis. The fine, radiating, fibrous septa developing in this setting have a distribution that is reminiscent of the location of the canals of Hering (coH). To assess the possibility of fibrous obliteration of the coH in patients receiving methotrexate, we developed a staining technique by combining an immunohistochemical stain for cytokeratin 7 with a modified Masson trichrome. Sixteen biopsy specimens from 7 patients were evaluated. The biopsies had a variety of histologic changes, including steatosis, anisonucleosis, multinucleation, chronic inflammation, bile duct damage, and ductular reaction. Fibrosis was present in 13 biopsy specimens (81%) and was mild in 7, moderate in 3, and severe in 3 specimens. Compared with normal (control) liver specimens, biopsy specimensfrom patients receiving methotrexate had decreased numbers of coH (1.9 +/- 0.8 vs 5.2 +/- 1.7; P < .025). In specimens with moderate or severe fibrosis, fibrous septa sometimes extended along the coH. These findings suggest that scarring of the coH might be a consequence of the toxic effects of methotrexate.

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