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Keywords:

  • liver regeneration;
  • neoductular cells;
  • intermediate progenitor stages;
  • hepatocyte polarity;
  • basement membrane;
  • chronic active hepatitis;
  • periportal necrosis

Abstract

In severely injured liver, stem cells give rise to progeny that tend to replace lost hepatocytes. Neoductular reaction appears as an inherent stage of liver reconstruction following severe damage caused by different pathological mechanisms. Few ultrastructural types of progenitor cells have been described, and some molecular phenotypes of progenitor stages have been characterized, but the details of the differentiation process are largely unknown. We prepared for light and electron microscopy examination human liver from biopsies of patients with chronic active hepatitis, and rat liver with allyl alcohol-induced periportal necrosis. We found that progenitor neoductular cells acquire the hepatocytic polarity pattern during a multi-step process apparently involving cell migration and dissolution of neoductular basement membrane. An intermediate stage with “mixed” ductular and hepatocytic polarity was described.