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Hepatol Res. 2007 Mar;37(3):230-7.

Development of complementary expression patterns of E- and N-cadherin in the mouse liver.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Otemae Hospital, Osaka, Japan.



Cadherins, Ca(2+)-dependent cell adhesion molecules, are known to play essential roles in morphogenesis and organogenesis. However, the role of cadherins in liver organogenesis remains poorly understood. The aim of this study is to clarify the expression patterns and levels of these cadherins in the developing and maturing mouse liver.


The expression of E- and N-cadherin was investigated immunohistochemically and levels were determined by immunoblots.


In the hepatic primordia E-cadherin, but not N- cadherin, was weakly expressed. As development proceeded, N-cadherin became coexpressed with E-cadherin in a single hepatocyte. The expression was uniform throughout the liver and the amount of these cadherins gradually increased. In the first postnatal week during the initial formation of the architecture of the liver lobule, the distribution of these cadherins gradually changed to the complementary pattern of the adult type, i.e. E-cadherin was expressed in the periportal zones, while N-cadherin was expressed in the perivenous zones.


The complementary expression patterns of E- and N-cadherin between the periportal and perivenous zones developed gradually after birth. This specific regional localization of each cadherin may serve as an aid in defining different functional regions in the mouse liver lobule.

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