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J Hepatol. 2004 May;40(5):774-80.

Cellular retinol-binding protein-1 expression in normal and fibrotic/cirrhotic human liver: different patterns of expression in hepatic stellate cells and (myo)fibroblast subpopulations.

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1
Department of Pathology, Centre Médical Universitaire, Geneva, Switzerland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Cellular retinol-binding protein-1 (CRBP-1) which is involved in vitamin A metabolism is highly expressed in liver cells, particularly in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). In this work, the CRBP-1 expression was studied by immunohistochemistry in the different liver cell populations, including HSCs and portal fibroblasts, of normal liver and of fibrotic and cirrhotic liver.

METHODS:

Normal liver, fibrotic liver in different stages and cirrhotic liver sections were studied. Immunohistochemistry was performed using antibodies against CRBP-1, alpha-smooth muscle actin (SMA), CD 68 and CD 34.

RESULTS:

In normal liver, quiescent HSCs expressed CRBP-1, while portal fibroblasts did not. In fibrotic or cirrhotic liver, activated HSCs co-expressed CRBP-1 and alpha-SMA; a variable proportion of portal and septal (myo)fibroblasts, more important in cirrhosis, neo-expressed both CRBP-1 and alpha-SMA. Biliary epithelial cells both in normal and pathological situations expressed CRBP-1. Neither Kupffer cells, nor endothelial cells showed CRBP-1 expression.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study demonstrates that CRBP-1 is a good marker to identify HSC in normal human liver. Furthermore, in fibrotic or cirrhotic liver, the different patterns of expression for CRBP-1 and alpha-SMA allow the distinction of different subsets of fibroblastic cells involved in fibrogenesis and septa formation.

PMID:
15094224
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhep.2004.01.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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