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Computerized morphometry of the cirrhotic liver: comparative analysis in primary biliary cirrhosis, alcoholic cirrhosis, and posthepatitic cirrhosis

Computerized morphometry of the cirrhotic liver: comparative analysis in primary biliary cirrhosis, alcoholic cirrhosis, and posthepatitic cirrhosis

Microscopy Research and Technique 65(3): 113-121

Fibrosis and nodular regeneration are the hallmarks of liver cirrhosis. To assess the degree of fibrosis and the severity of the structural changes affecting parenchymal and extraparenchymal components in liver cirrhosis, a computerized morphometric model has been applied to liver specimens from patients undergoing liver transplantation for primary biliary cirrhosis, posthepatitic and alcoholic cirrhosis. Fifty-eight hepatectomy specimens from patients undergoing liver transplantation for cirrhosis were analyzed: 17 alcoholic, 28 posthepatitic (HBV-related and HCV-related cirrhosis), and 13 primary biliary cirrhoses. Liver specimens were fixed in 10% neutral-buffered formalin and embedded in paraffin. Sections were stained with chromotrope-aniline blue method and monoclonal antibodies against cytokeratin 7 and CD31. Volume fractions of parenchymal compartment and fibrosis were stereologically determined on the specimens stained with chromotrope-aniline blue method. Volume fractions of portal bile ducts, proliferated bile ductules, and hepatocytes with biliary metaplasia were measured on cytokeratin 7 stains, while volume fractions of capillary units have been evaluated on CD31 staining. Volume fraction of fibrosis was higher in primary biliary cirrhosis than in the other disease-induced cirrhosis. The main differences were related to immunohistochemical staining. Volume fraction of hepatocytes with biliary metaplasia was higher in HCV-related cirrhosis, whereas volume fractions of biliary structures were more prominent in HBV-related cirrhosis. Primary biliary cirrhosis was characterized by a reduced number of bile ducts and by a wider expression of cytokeratin 7 into periportal hepatocytes. Capillary units were more prominent in primary biliary cirrhosis than alcoholic and posthepatitic cirrhosis. Our computerized morphometric model well describes and quantifies the morphological alterations of the liver and it could represent an adjunctive tool to evaluate the degree of dysplastic phenomena involving parenchymal and extraparenchymal compartments.

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Accession: 048619074

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PMID: 15605407

DOI: 10.1002/jemt.20110

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