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Hepatology. 1996 Jun;23(6):1441-7.

Expression of epithelial cadherin and alpha- and beta-catenins in nontumoral livers and hepatocellular carcinomas.

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Second Department of Pathology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Kawasaki, Japan.


Expression of the cell adhesion molecule, epithelial cadherin (E-CD) and its binding proteins, alpha- and beta-catenins, in normal liver, chronic liver diseases, and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) was investigated immunohistologically. In normal liver, weak immunostaining of E-CD and catenins was observed at the lateral membranes of the hepatocytes, whereas at the interlobular bile duct epithelia, they stained strongly. No immunoreactions were seen in sinusoidal Kupffer cells. Similar results were observed in the majority of livers from chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis sufferers; however, hepatocytes undergoing regeneration and rosette formation, as well as Hering canals and proliferating ductules, showed markedly increased molecular expression. Analysis of 66 HCC lesions revealed that the majority (64.3-96.6%) of thin trabecular- and pseudoglandular-type tumors preserved or overexpressed E-CD and catenins, whereas thick trabecular-type HCCs frequently showed low E-CD and alpha-catenin expression (56.5-65.2% reduction), suggesting that the thick trabecular histology represented diffuse tumor cell growth. Likewise, the E-CD and catenin expression levels correlated with the HCC cell differentiation grades. These collective results indicate that intercellular adhesion mediated by the E-CD-catenin system plays a role in morphological changes in nonmalignant and malignant hepatic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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