A scanning electron microscopic study of the rat liver sinusoid: endothelial and Kupffer cells.

Abstract:

:The surface ultrastructure of Kupffer cells in the rat liver has been studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results demonstrate that Kupffer cells are both significantly different and clearly distinct from endothelial cells. Kupffer cells have neither pores (and/or "sieve plates") nor fenestrations, all of which are present in endothelial cells. They possess a stellate shape, and only indirectly, with slender and irregular evaginations, contribute to the lining of the sinusoidal wall. Furthermore, the luminal surface in some areas contains a large population of short microvilli, microphicae and invaginations. These elements form a kind of microlabyrinth which may correpond to the "worm-like" structures described by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). In the present study, transition forms between endothelial and Kupffer cells were never found. On the contrary, considering the highly fenestrated nature of the endothelial cells, the Kupffer cells may, by ameboid movements, easily cross the overlapping barrier of the sinusoid and protrude into the lumen. Thus, acting as activated macrophages, the Kupffer cells might function to prevent the entrance of foreign material into the tissues of the liver through the fragile and highly fenestrated endothelium. Finally, the topographical reconstruction of the sinusoid by correlated SEM and TEM studies demonstrates the Kupffer cells, with their protruding cytoplasm and ability to extend into the lumen of the sinusoid, may actually change the caliber of the vessel, and thus function as a "sphincter" which causes a temporary arrest of the blood flow when the diameter of the sinusoidal lumen is reduced.

journal_name

Cell Tissue Res

journal_title

Cell and tissue research

authors

Motta P

doi

10.1007/BF00223015

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

1975-12-10 00:00:00

pages

371-85

issue

3

eissn

0302-766X

issn

1432-0878

journal_volume

164

pub_type

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