The incorporation of 3H-proline in cells of liver biopsy specimens from patients with chronic active liver diseases has been studied by light and electron microscopic autoradiography. The labeled proline is incorporated by hepatocytes of the external rows of the residual liver lobule, by the cells of the proliferating bile ductule and very actively by the plasma cells localized at the boundary between the inflammatory infiltrate and the liver lobule. These plasma cells, which are often in close contact with the hepatocytes at the edge of the liver lobule, appear to be either negative or positive after the immunohistochemical tests for the k and λ chains of immunoglobulins. Results are discussed in relation to both the synthesis of collagen and the role of the immunocompetent cells during the process of the piecemeal necrosis.
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