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J Anat. 1994 Oct;185 ( Pt 2):241-9.

The liver of the brown trout, Salmo trutta fario: a light and electron microscope study.

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  • 1Laboratory of Histology and Embryology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Oporto, Portugal.


A qualitative study by light and electron microscopy was undertaken on the liver of the brown trout, Salmo trutta fario. Vessels and bile ducts were observed to be scattered without any apparent order within the parenchyma. Venous profiles appeared either isolated or included in 'venous-arteriolar tracts' (VAT) and 'venous-biliary-arteriolar tracts' (VBAT). Bile ducts also appeared either isolated or in groups which often included an arteriole. The parenchyma was organised in tubules of hepatocytes encircling biliary passages radially. Those cells were uninucleate and contained large cytoplasmic areas of rough endoplasmic reticulum; lipid droplets and dense bodies sometimes also occupied a considerable portion of the cytoplasm. Microvilli extended from hepatocytes into biliary passages and towards the space of Disse. Other cell types encountered comprised biliary epithelial cells, macrophages (including melanin laden cells), fat-storing cells and endothelial cells. The biliary tree was formed sequentially by intra- and intercellular canaliculi, preductules, ductules and ducts. Canaliculi without microvilli are described for the first time in fishes. Structural differences between the brown trout and other fishes were noted. In contradistinction to other fishes, in brown trout the triads (i.e. the VBAT) are not just occasional structures; also, they probably transmit portal veins. Our observations support the concept of a tubular arrangement of hepatocytes in fish. The possibility that the axis of the tubule may be a sinusoid instead of a biliary passage is questioned. Homology between, on one hand, the segment formed by preductules and ductules and, on the other, the canal of Hering of mammals is defended. It is concluded that among salmonids notable interspecific differences do not seem to exist.

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