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Gastroenterol Jpn. 1988 Dec;23(6):633-8.

Survey of copper granules in liver biopsy specimens from various liver abnormalities other than Wilson's disease and biliary diseases.

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Second Department of Pathology, Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Japan.


Copper granules in hepatocytes were examined by the p-dimethylaminobenzylidene rhodanine method in 965 liver biopsy specimens obtained from patients with various liver abnormalities other than Wilson's disease and biliary diseases. The granules were found in chronic active hepatitis (incidence of positive cases: 17.2%) and alcoholic fibrosis (22%) with lobular disarray and fibrosis, nonbiliary liver cirrhosis (28%), and drug-induced cholestasis (15%). Copper granules were present in the periportal or periseptal hepatocytes where the granules were mainly found in the perinuclear cytoplasm. These intracellular and intralobular distribution patterns of copper granules resembled those of primary biliary cirrhosis. These data suggest that hepatic fibrosis and lobular disarray with fibrosis in these chronic liver disease may lead to distortion or interruption of small biliary branches followed by disturbance of bile flow and deposition of copper granules. Copper stain seems to provide a valuable information for assessment of progression of these chronic liver diseases. Impaired biliary excretion seems important in deposition of copper granules in drug-induced cholestasis.

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