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J Hepatol. 1986;3(3):333-40.

Early alcoholic liver injury. Activation of lipocytes in acinar zone 3 and correlation to degree of collagen formation in the Disse space.


Acinar zone 3 areas in liver biopsy specimens from 23 alcoholics and 47 non-alcoholics were investigated by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to asses fibrosis in the perisinusoidal space and to evaluate the role of the lipocytes. Quantitative analysis by light microscopy on toluidine blue-stained sections showed a significant reduction in number of lipocytes--median values of 2.7 and 1.2 lipocytes per 100 hepatocytes in biopsies from chronic alcoholics showing no or varying degrees of zone 3 fibrosis, respectively, as compared to 3.6 lipocytes per 100 hepatocytes in non-alcoholic livers. By transmission electron microscopy, the reduction in number of lipocytes was related to a corresponding increase in number of cells rich in rough endoplasmic reticulum and microfilaments (activated lipocytes). The occurrence of activated cells was significantly correlated to fibrosis of the perisinusoidal space. Activation of lipocytes and collagenization of the perisinusoidal space appeared before light microscopic evidence of fibrosis and were topographically not related to Mallory bodies or alcoholic hepatitis.

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