• α-smooth-muscle-actin;
  • carbon tetrachloride;
  • desmin;
  • fat-storing cells (Ito cells);
  • hepatic fibrosis;
  • immunohistochemistry;
  • myofibroblasts

ABSTRACT— The appearance of α-smooth-muscle-actin (α-smA)-positive cells during hepatic fibrosis was studied immunohistochemically in rat and human livers. In the normal rat liver, α-smA was observed only in vascular smooth muscle cells. With the progression of fibrosis induced by CCl4 injection, α-smA-positive cells appeared in the perisinusoidal space and the fibrous septa, and ultimately surrounded regenerative nodules. An increase of desmin-positive cells was recognized in the fibrotic areas and the perisinusoidal area. In the human liver, α-smA-positive cells appeared in the fibrotic area, whereas no desmin-positive cells were observed, except in vascular walls of the central vein and the portal tract. α-smA is a good marker for the detection of myofibroblast-like cells, and the appearance of α-smA in liver mesenchymal cells seems closely related to the process of hepatic fibrosis in both rat and man.