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Hepatology. 1998 Apr;27(4):1098-108.

Zonal and regional differences identified from precision mapping of vitamin A-storing lipid droplets of the hepatic stellate cells in pig liver: a novel concept of addressing the intralobular area of heterogeneity.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy Division I, School of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


Knowledge of hepatic heterogeneity has been strikingly increased, while an accurate means for addressing intralobular positions is still lacking. We examined pig liver preparations of the gold impregnation method for vitamin A-storing lipid droplets in hepatic stellate cells. Droplet morphometry was performed under oil immersion, and the calculated volumes plotted on computerized maps. The heterogeneous results were assessed with five concentric zones and five radial regions; the latter were determined based on midseptum visualized by portal injection. Zonation and regionation thus subdivided lobules into 5-zone/5-region (5Z/5R) compartmentalization. Distribution of values exhibited a distinct zonal gradient, heightened at peripheral zones 1 and 2, decreased over intermediate zone 3 toward centrilobular zones 4 and 5; peak was always found at zone 2. Within a single zone, variations were obvious, forming a regional gradient. Values were significantly higher at periportal than midseptal regions. Digitized mapping showed that low values filled up centrilobular zones, whereas high values concentrated in periportal regions. Along the periphery, inlet venules were quantified, revealing an occurrence rate of 60% at periportal, and 5% at midseptal regions, closely compatible with the regional gradient of vitamin A-storing capacity. The interweaving between zonal and regional gradients results in a vitamin A-low territory, a compound area composed of centrilobular zones plus extensions into midseptal regions. Because the results could account for physiological and pathological events, we regard the 5Z/5R compartmentalization a model worth routine adoption for a precise description of any morphofunctionally demonstrable heterogeneity of the liver lobules.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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