Codistribution of Collagen Type IV and Laminin in Liver Fibrosis of Elderly Cadavers: Immunohistochemical Marker of Perisinusoidal Basement Membrane Formation


Correspondence to: Ki M. Mak, Ph.D., Department of Medical Education, Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1007, New York, NY 10029, Fax: 212-860-1174. E-mail:


Liver sinusoids are lined by a fenestrated endothelium that lacks a basement membrane. Formation of perisinusoidal basement membranes beneath the endothelium is an integral feature of capillarization of sinusoids that is a significant pathology found in advanced fibrosis. Liver fibrosis is prevalent in elderly cadavers; however, basement membrane formation in these liver samples has yet to be studied. Collagen type IV and laminin are major basement membrane proteins and their codistribution around sinusoids provides an immunohistochemical marker of basement membrane formation. Here, we examined the intralobular sites of perisinusoidal basement membrane formation in elderly cadaveric livers having various stages of fibrosis. Collagen IV and laminin codistributed in basement membranes of portal and septal ductular and vascular structures, providing a positive control. In the parenchyma, collagen IV immunostaining of sinusoids was panlobular in all stages of fibrosis, and the stain was continuous along the sinusoids. In contrast, laminin was not detected in livers, showing minimal fibrotic change. It was rarely seen in perisinusoidal/pericellular fibrosis, but frequently in septa formation, bridging fibrosis, and cirrhosis. The laminin stain was patchy, occurring principally in sinusoids of periportal and periseptal areas, less commonly in mid-lobular and rarely in centrilobular areas. Consecutive sections revealed that laminin codistributed with collagen IV in these sinusoidal locations, thus marking the sites of perisinusoidal basement membrane formation in aged fibrotic livers. This development is presumably related to aging of the liver and exacerbated by liver injury caused by advanced liver fibrosis, possibly resulting in sinusoidal capillarization. Anat Rec, 296:953–964, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.