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Morphological alterations and functional changes of interhepatocellular junctions induced by bile duct ligation

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The effect of bile duct ligation on the intercellular junctions of hepatocytes was investigated. The features and the arrangement of the bile canaliculi and the zonulae occludentes alter concomitant to the increase of the intracanalicular pressure. The lumen of the bile canaliculi enlarges and the microvilli disappear. The array of the zonulae occludentes becomes irregularly shaped, the number of strands diminishes and interruptions of the strands occur. With peroxidase a leakage in the bile-blood barrier is detected. Furthermore a disappearance of gap junctions between the hepatocytes after bile duct ligation is observed. The present investigation shows that the zonulae occludentes are mobile structures which are changed by increased unilateral pressure. Due to their ultrastructural alterations, a leakage of the permeability barrier between physiological compartments is found.

We acknowledge the helpful criticism and discussion of Prof. H.D. Fahimi. We are indebted to Mrs. B. Brühl, M. Bürkle and Ch. Walenta for technical assistance, and to stud. med. Jon Greenberg for preparing the manuscript

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Correspondence to Priv. Doz. Dr. J. Metz III.

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Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Research Professor of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

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Metz, J., Aoki, A., Merlo, M. et al. Morphological alterations and functional changes of interhepatocellular junctions induced by bile duct ligation. Cell Tissue Res. 182, 299–310 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00219766

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Key words

  • Liver
  • Bile duct ligation (rat)
  • Cell membrane
  • Intercellular junctions
  • Ultrastructure
  • Freeze-fracturing