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J Hepatol. 1989 Jul;9(1):42-8.

The application of quantitative cytochemistry to study the acinar distribution of enzymatic activities in human liver biopsy sections.

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  • 1Department of Child Health, King's College, London, U.K.


The zonal distribution of enzyme activities was measured by quantitative cytochemistry in cryosections of liver from three normal children and five infants with idiopathic hepatitis of infancy. Optimal conditions for cytochemical reactions were first validated in rat liver and subsequently used in human livers to quantify zonal activities of acid phosphatase (AP), succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), glucose-6-phosphatase (G6P) and NADPH-dehydrogenase (ND). In normal rat and human livers, activities were greater for SDH and G6P in periportal and for GDH and ND in perivenular hepatocytes, while AP was evenly distributed along the sinusoids. In five infants with idiopathic hepatitis of infancy (IHI), a similar trend of distribution was observed for the two mitochondrial (SDH and GDH) and the two microsomal (G6P and ND) enzymes, although the distribution gradient was less pronounced than, in normal livers. AP showed a mildly greater periportal than perivenular activity. This preliminary study shows that a similar metabolic zonation exists for these enzymes in human livers as is observed in rats.

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