• β-hexosaminidase;
  • cholestasis;
  • cirrhosis;
  • liver;
  • lysosomal enzyme

ABSTRACT— The lysosomal enzyme β-hexosaminidase (Hex) was studied immunohisto-chemically with a monoclonal antibody in normal human livers and in livers with cirrhosis and cholestasis. No reaction was detected in sections from normal livers. The reaction in diseased livers was prominent mainly in degenerating hepatocytes, whereas Kupffer cells and bile duct epithelium showed faint reactivity. The reaction product was intense in degenerated hepatocytes, especially in the periphery of the pseudolobules in cirrhotic livers. In cholestatic livers the positivity was localized around central veins in cells with bile pigment. The more pigment, the stronger was the reaction. It is suggested that the elevated level of serum Hex found in cirrhosis and cholestasis derives from degenerating hepatocytes and activated Kupffer cells.