Peroxisomes in cirrhosis of the human liver: A cytochemical, ultrastructural and quantitative study

Authors

  • Dirk De Craemer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
    • Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Marina Pauwels,

    1. Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
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  • Frank Roels

    1. Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Human Anatomy and Embryology, State University of Ghent, Godshuizenlaan 4, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Abstract

Hepatocellular peroxisomes in 32 patients with cirrhosis were studied by means of catalase cytochemical and morphometric analysis. Seven normal human livers were used as controls. The severity of the cirrhosis was determined with the Child-Turcotte criteria. Under the light microscope, a decrease in catalase staining was observed in 12 livers. Staining showed a weak inverse correlation with severity of the cirrhotic process. Peroxisomes revealed a perinuclear configuration in 24 patients. Morphometric analysis of peroxisomes was performed on 14 cirrhotic livers and revealed a near doubling of the number of organelles, with a compensatory decrease in mean peroxisomal diameter: no appreciable change in total volume of the peroxisome compartment was found. Cytoplasmic invaginations, protrusions and gastruloid cisternae were sparse. Apparently, peroxisomal proliferation in liver cells appeared early in the cirrhotic process. In all 10 livers with a perinuclear configuration of the peroxisomes that were processed for electron microscopy, a morphometrically confirmed increase in the number of peroxisomes was observed. Peroxisomes frequently showed transparent matrical spots and angular profiles. In two patients nucleoid-containing peroxisomes were observed. Although variation between individual patients was high, peroxisomal changes were observed in each cirrhotic liver. No relationship between morphological or morphometric alterations in peroxisomal compartment on one side and the severity of the disease or the type of cirrhotic nodules on the other side was observed. (HEPATOLOGY 1993;17:404–410.)

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