• intrahepatic bile duct;
  • mucus;
  • periductal glands

ABSTRACT— The morphology and distribution of the glandular elements around the intrahepatic bile ducts, hitherto poorly described, were examined in autopsied human livers with the aid of postmortem cholangiographs. The glands could be divided into intramural and extramural. The former were small in number, scattered within the bile duct walls, and were simple tubular mucous glands. The latter were more abundant, located in the periductal connective tissue, and were branched tubuloalveolar seromucous glands. Serial section observations revealed that neither gland communicated with the hepatic parenchyma, and the extramural glands drained into the large bile duct lumina via the conduits. The mucous cells of both glands contained neutral, carboxylated and sulfated glycoproteins. The extramural glands were distributed from the hepatic to the segment ducts in almost all livers, and were also discerned around the area ducts in two-fifths of the livers. The glands seemed to decrease in number as the bile ducts became more branched.