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Virchows Arch B Cell Pathol. 1978 Jun 19;27(4):307-16.

Human hepatocytes and aging: a cytophotometrical analysis in 35 sudden-death cases.


Alterations in the nuclear and cellular size of human hepatocytes occurring with age, and particularly in senescence, were studied by microphotometry. The material studied was obtained in 35 cases of sudden death, involving 17 males and 18 females ranging in age from 16 to 100 years. Cells of the peripheral zones of hepatic lobules were analyzed. The following results were obtained: 1. The mean nuclear area of hepatocytes remained relatively constant in subjects under 60 years of age but showed an increase in those over 60, this increase being associated with a greater standard deviation. 2. Volumetric analysis showed that the modal value included between 61 and 100% (mean 86%) of the cell nuclei examined and did not increase with age. This cell population was presumed to consist of diploid cells, the size of which remained constant. 3. An increase in mean nuclear area was due to the appearance of cells with larger nuclei which probably were the result of polyploidization. 4. Hepatocyte size increased with age. Analysis of the nucleus-to-cell sizes showed that the increase in cell size with age was more significant than the increase in nuclear size. 5. Cellular enlargement was more closely correlated with decrease in gross liver weight than with nuclear enlargement.

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