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Abnormal surface distribution of the human asialoglycoprotein receptor in cirrhosis

Authors

  • James B. Burgess M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80220
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center, 2601 East Roosevelt, Phoenix, AZ 85008
    • Department of Internal Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center, 2601 E. Roosevelt, Phoenix, AZ 85008
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    • James B. Burgess was supported by a National Research Service Award Institutional Training Grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

  • Jacques U. Baenziger,

    1. Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110
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  • William R. Brown

    1. Department of Medicine of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado 80220
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    • William R. Brown is a medical investigator with the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Abstract

Serum concentrations of asialoglycoproteins are increased in cirrhosis. We hypothesized that this increase results from abnormalities in the asialoglycoprotein receptor, which is located on the sinusoidal and lateral membrane of hepatocytes. Therefore we searched for morphological alterations in the distribution of the asialoglycoprotein receptor in human liver, using a light microscopic immunoperoxidase method in autopsy livers. In 24 of 25 (96%) of patients without liver disease, the asialoglycoprotein receptor was located on the sinusoidal and, less prominently, the lateral surface of hepatocytes but not the canalicular surface. In contrast, in 12 of 18 (67%) patients with cirrhosis of various causes, the receptor also was localized strikingly along the canalicular surface, with a corresponding decrease on the sinusoidal and lateral surfaces. We conclude that an abnormal cell-surface distribution of the asialoglycoprotein receptor commonly occurs in cirrhosis. This abnormality might result in impaired clearance of desialylated glycoproteins from plasma. (Hepatology 1992;15:702–706).

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