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Cell Tissue Res. 1996 Jan;283(1):159-65.

Expression of neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) in perisinusoidal stellate cells of the human liver.

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  • 1Second Department of Anatomy, Osaka City University Medical School, 1-4-54 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka, 545 Japan.


Neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) is distributed in most nerve cells and some non-neural tissues. The present immunohistochemical study has revealed, for the first time, the expression of N-CAM in perisinusoidal stellate cells of the human liver. Liver specimens were stained with monoclonal antibody against human Leu19 (N-CAM) by a streptoavidin-biotin-peroxidase-complex method. Light- and electron-microscopic analyses have shown that N-CAM-positive nerve fibers are distributed in the periportal and intermediate zones of the liver lobule. Perisinusoidal stellate cells in these zones are also positive for N-CAM. N-CAM is expressed on the surface of the cell, including cytoplasmic projections. Close contact of N-CAM-positive nerve endings with N-CAM-positive stellate cells has been observed. On the other hand, stellate cells in the centrilobular zone exhibit weak or no reaction for N-CAM. Perivascular smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts in the portal area and myofibroblasts around the central veins are negative for N-CAM. The present results indicate that the perisinusoidal stellate cells in the periportal and intermediate zones of the liver lobule characteristically express N-CAM, unlike other related mesenchymal cells, and suggest that the intralobular heterogeneity of N-CAM expression by stellate cells is related to the different maturational stages of these cells.

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