• hyperplastic;
  • liver;
  • portacaval anastomosis;
  • rat

ABSTRACT— Hyperplastic focal areas were investigated in livers of male rats 1 and 9 months after portacaval anastomosis (PCA) by light and electron microscopy. These alterations, predominantly found in periportal areas, were characterized by light microscopy as clusters of enlarged hepatocytes along narrowed sinusoids, contrasting in the remaining liver acinus with smaller hepatocytes along widened sinusoids. No differences were observed between 1 and 9 months PCA except for glycogen content, which was homogeneously distributed in the liver at 1 month but completely lacking in foci at 9 months. The most striking ultrastructural alterations were the sinusoids delimited in these hyperplastic areas by a thickened barrier consisting of thick endothelial cells encircled by numerous subendothelial processes of the perisinusoidal fat-storing cells. Deep and widened recesses of the sinusoidal lumen separated the two-cell-thick plates of the hyperplastic cells. Hepatocytes in foci, thought to represent regenerative areas, tend to increase their exchange surface. Their progressive loss in glycogen and their two-cell-thick plates architecture should be in favour of a potential malignancy. However, the spontaneous evolution of these foci which do not necessarily give rise to nodules, as well as the lack of other features of transformation, do not support this possibility.