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J Cell Sci. 1981 Aug;50:433-48.

Ultrastructural changes in rat hepatocytes after partial hepatectomy, and comparison with biochemical results.


Ultrastructural changes in rat hepatocytes in the first 24 h following partial hepatectomy (p.h.), i.e. in the premitotic phase of liver regeneration, were studied using electron microscopic morphometry. Livers were investigated 1/2, 1, 4, 8, 12, 20 and 24 h after p.h. and 1/2, 8, 20 and 24 h after a sham operation. Two effects appear to be associated specifically with the regeneration process: (1) an increase in the volume density of lysosomes to a peak between 4 and 8 h after p.h.; and (2) a doubling in the number of mitochondria per cell by 24 h without any associated increase in the total mitochondrial volume. Two further changes were observed only after p.h.: (1) a massive accumulation of lipid in the form of lipid droplets by 24 h; and (2) the appearance of 'protein droplets' (very large lysosomal-like structures) at various stages. Both these changes appear to be secondary effects associated with the stimulation for, but not necessary to, cell division. The loss of glycogen observed immediately after both p.h. and a sham operation is a non-specific effect probably resulting from operation-induced stress. The results are discussed with reference to the changes observed in the biochemical composition of blood plasma. Glucagon appears to play an important role in the stimulation of some of the ultrastructural changes observed.

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