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Toxicol Pathol. 2010 Oct;38(6):872-906. doi: 10.1177/0192623310374329. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

Histology atlas of the developing mouse hepatobiliary system with emphasis on embryonic days 9.5-18.5.

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  • 11Cellular and Molecular Pathology Branch, NIEHS, NIH, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709,USA.


Animal model phenotyping, in utero exposure toxicity studies, and investigation into causes of embryonic, fetal, or perinatal deaths have required pathologists to recognize and diagnose developmental disorders in spontaneous and engineered mouse models of disease. In mammals, the liver is the main site of hematopoiesis during fetal development, has endocrine and exocrine functions important for maintaining homeostasis in fetal and adult life; and performs other functions including waste detoxification, production and removal of glucose, glycogen storage, triglyceride and fatty acid processing, and serum protein production. Due to its role in many critical functions, alterations in the size, morphology, or function(s) of the liver often lead to embryonic lethality. Many publications and websites describe individual aspects of hepatobiliary development at defined stages. However, no single resource provides a detailed histological evaluation of H&E-stained sections of the developing murine liver and biliary systems using high-magnification and high-resolution color images. The work herein provides a histology atlas of hepatobiliary development between embryonic days 9.5-18.5. Although the focus of this work is normal hepatobiliary development, common defects in liver development are also described as a reference for pathologists who may be asked to phenotype mice with congenital, inherited, or treatment-related hepatobiliary defects. Authors' note: All digital images can be viewed online at with the username "ToxPathLiver" and the password "embryolivers."

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