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Histol Histopathol. 2002 Jan;17(1):65-81. doi: 10.14670/HH-17.65.

Proliferation and differentiation of ductular progenitor cells and littoral cells during the regeneration of the rat liver to CCl4/2-AAF injury.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Albany Medical College, NY 12208-3479, USA.


Restoration of centrolobular injury induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), when hepatocyte proliferation is inhibited by treatment with N-2-acetylaminofluorene (AAF), is accomplished by proliferation of ductular progenitor cells, that arise intraportally and extend into the liver lobule. This pattern contrasts to the restitutive proliferation of hepatocytes when AAF is not administered, and the proliferation of non-ductular periportal oval cells follows periportal necrosis induced by allyl alcohol. The expanding ducts stain for alphafetoprotein (AFP), OV-6, pan-cytokeratin (CKPan), and laminin. The neoductular proliferation is accompanied by fibronectin-positive Kupffer cells and desmin-positive stellate (Ito) cells, which may play critical roles not only in controlling proliferation and differentiation of ductular progenitor cells, but also in reestablishing hepatic cord structure. When AAF is discontinued 7 days after injury, clusters of small hepatocytes appear next to the neoductules. Some of these small hepatocytes, as well as some larger hepatocytes adjacent to the ducts, stain for AFP and for carbamoylphosphate synthetase I (CPS-I), suggesting that the ductular progenitor cells may differentiate into hepatocytes when AAF is withdrawn. The restitutive process is facilitated by clearing of the central necrotic zone by infiltrating macrophages and co-migration of mature hepatocytes, with Kupffer cells and stellate cells, into the necrotic zone.

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