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Cell Tissue Res. 1988 Sep;253(3):563-71.

Three-dimensional structure of endothelial cells in hepatic sinusoids of the rat as revealed by the Golgi method.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


The three-dimensional structure of endothelial cells in the hepatic sinusoids of the rat was studied by application of light- and electron microscopy on Golgi-impregnated specimens. A number of endothelial cells could thus be individually delineated throughout the hepatic lobules. The cytoplasm, showing heavy silver deposits, consists of two distinct areas, a thick and thin portion. The thick portion, issuing from the region of the perikaryon, branches and tapers toward the cell periphery. The thin portion, occupying the remainder of the cytoplasm, consists largely of highly fenestrated sieve plates. Some intralobular variation can be noted; the thick portion of the endothelial cells is well developed in the periportal zone, while the cells in the centrilobular zone are relatively rich in thin portions. In addition, the area of distribution of an individual endothelial cell is larger in the centrilobular sinusoids than in the periportal zone. Some endothelial cells also possess unique cytoplasmic processes projecting into the intercellular space between hepatocytes and connecting the sinusoidal walls of neighboring sinusoids. These processes may anchor the endothelial cells to the hepatic plates.

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