Liver and Gallbladder

  • Rachel M. Brown

Biliary structures of all calibers, and hepatocytes, are derived from endoderm. A hollow midline outgrowth from the ventral aspect of the future duodenum, known as the liver bud or hepatic diverticulum, develops around the third week of embryonic life. The liver bud grows into the septum transversum and the cardiac mesoderm. These structures contribute connective tissues to the developing liver, and appropriate gene expression is required both in the endoderm and meso-derm for normal development. This process is termed mesoderm inductive signaling (Crosby et al. 2002; Costa et al. 2003). In this environment cells from the bud form thick plates of hepato-blasts surrounding sinusoids fed from vitelline vessels derived from the wall of the yolk sac. Sheets of liver cells are initially many layers thick; by 5 months after birth plates are two cells thick; the adult pattern of plates one cell thick will not be seen until at least 5 years of age (MacSween et al. 2002).


Bile Duct Biliary Atresia Choledochal Cyst Intrahepatic Bile Duct Portal Tract 
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel M. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistopathologyBirmingham Children's HospitalBirminghamUK

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