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Mesenchymal cells in the liver – one cell type or two?

Authors

  • G. Ramadori,

  • B Saile,

  • G. Ramadori,

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, Georg-August University Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Straße 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
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  • B. Saile

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, Georg-August University Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Straße 40, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
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Prof Dr G. Ramadori. Tel: + 49 551 396301.
Fax: + 49 551 398596. e-mail: gramado@med.uni-goettingen.de

Abstract

Abstract:  The wall of the liver sinusoid is made of highly specialized cells, the hepatic stellate cells (HSC) which together with the sinusoidal endothelial cells represent a loose barrier to the corpusculate part of the blood flowing through the liver. Quiescent stellate cells (quiescent HSC) store Vitamin A; “activated” stellate cells become involved in the reaction to acute or chronic noxae damaging the liver parenchyma. Activated HSC show increased protein synthesis capacity, increased DNA-synthesis and acquire a myofibroblast-like phenotype. Under similar conditions liver myofibroblasts (MF) of the portal field and of the pericentral area may also become “activated” by increasing protein synthesis, DNA synthesis and cell division. They express the fibulin-2 gene and produce large amounts of IL-6. In contrast to “activated” HSC they do not undergo spontaneous apoptosis in vitro and do not express the CD95-ligand gene. So far no definite prove has been found for a “transdifferentiation” of HSC to myofibroblasts. On the contrary an increasing amount of data support the conviction that HSC and MF represent two similar but not identical cell populations the latter being comparable to those of other organs.

Ancillary