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Acta Pathol Jpn. 1983 May;33(3):447-66.

Fine structure of hepatic sinusoids and their development in human embryos and fetuses.


The fine structure of the hepatic sinusoids of 81 human embryos and fetuses and their development from 5 to 12 weeks gestation were studied. At 5 weeks gestation, sinusoid-like structures and Kupffer-like cells were observed between liver cell cords. Between 6 and 8 weeks gestation the sinusoids were completely developed. Definite Kupffer cells appear at this developmental stage, when the bone marrow has not yet formed. Floating macrophages form cell aggregates in the sinusoids which contact endothelial cells and settle as Kupffer cells. Erythroblastophagia is observed in Kupffer cells and macrophages. The endothelial linings are closed, with the attenuated cell processes and intercellular junctions between the adjoining endothelial cells. No transition was observed between Kupffer cells and endothelial cells. The findings suggest that Kupffer cells in the human embryo are extrahepatic in origin and that they reach the sinusoids via the circulatory system. Ito cells, which store fat, originate from mesenchymal cells in the septum transversum.

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