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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1989 Feb;113(2):134-8.

Expression of cytokeratins in normal and diseased livers and in primary liver carcinomas.

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  • 1Lillian and Henry M. Stratton-Hans Popper Department of Pathology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York 10029.


Hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium express several types of cytokeratins, the characteristic intermediate-filament proteins of epithelial cells. The cytokeratin antigen expression was studied in normal and diseased livers, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas, and hepatocellular carcinomas by immunohistochemical methods using a panel of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies to cytokeratins. Ten percent formaldehyde solution-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections obtained from ten patients without liver disease, 18 patients without liver disease, 18 patients with different stages of primary biliary cirrhosis, 14 patients with alcoholic hepatitis, ten patients with fatty liver hepatitis secondary to diabetes mellitus or morbid obesity, five patients with hepatocellular carcinomas, and five patients with cholangiocarcinomas were examined. The results suggested that hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium retain their distinct cytokeratin profiles in liver disease, including malignant transformation. Therefore, demonstration of cytokeratins in the liver is useful in establishing the cellular origin of neoplasms and understanding the pathogenesis of liver diseases.

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