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Histopathology. 1993 May;22(5):467-73.

Expression of alpha-amylase isoenzymes and trypsin by the proliferating epithelium of large intrahepatic bile ducts and intrahepatic peribiliary glands in hepatolithiasis.

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


The expression of alpha-amylase isoenzymes (pancreatic and salivary) and trypsin by the epithelium of large intrahepatic bile ducts and peribiliary glands was examined immunohistochemically in hepatolithiasis (n = 22), extrahepatic biliary obstruction (n = 20) and normal liver (n = 22). Hepatolithiasis was associated with marked proliferation of bile duct cells and peribiliary glands. Expression of pancreatic and salivary amylase was observed in the proliferating bile duct cells and peribiliary glands of all livers, and trypsin was found in 68% of the livers. In extrahepatic biliary obstruction, proliferation of the biliary epithelium was less marked, but expression of amylase isoenzymes was observed in all livers and trypsin was found in 50%. All normal livers showed expression of amylase isoenzymes in large intrahepatic bile ducts, septal bile ducts and peribiliary glands, and trypsin was found in 73%. The density of enzyme-containing acini was highest in hepatolithiasis, intermediate in extrahepatic biliary obstruction and lowest in normal liver. These results show that the proliferating biliary epithelium in hepatolithiasis contains amylase isoenzymes and trypsin and that biliary epithelium retains the ability to produce these enzymes after proliferation, suggesting that a large amount of amylase isoenzyme and trypsin may be secreted into the bile ducts in hepatolithiasis. These enzymes may play an important role in the pathophysiology of hepatolithiasis.

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