Storage of lipid droplets in and production of extracellular matrix by hepatic stellate cells (vitamin A-storing cells) in Long-Evans Cinnamon-like colored (LEC) rats

Katsuyuki Imai, Mitsuru Sato, Naosuke Kojima, Mitsutaka Miura, Takeya Sato, Toshihiro Sugiyama, Katsuhiko Enomoto, Haruki Senoo

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34 Citations (Scopus)


LEC rats spontaneously develop hepatocellular carcinoma with cholangiofibrosis after chronic hepatitis, but the mechanism of development of the hepatic injury is not clear. To investigate the role of hepatic stellate cells in induction or suppression of hepatic fibrosis, we morphologically examined the liver of LEC rats. Accumulation of copper was analyzed by the Danscher-Timm's sulfide-silver method. Histopathological changes were evaluated by hematoxylin and eosin staining, and by Masson's trichrome method. Activated stellate cells were identified by immunostaining method for α-smooth muscle actin. Cytological alterations of the stellate cells were investigated by transmission electron microscopy. To evaluate the lipid content in the stellate cells, we analyzed the area of lipid droplets of the cells by morphometric analysis. Also for evaluation of the changes in the number of stellate cells, the numbers of nucleated stellate cells and parenchymal cells were counted and statistically analyzed. Hepatic parenchymal cells showed excessive accumulation of copper at 5 weeks of age. Submassive necrosis was observed at 19 weeks of age. The liver of LEC rats 1.5 years of age showed cholangiofibrosis and subcellular injury of hepatic parenchymal cells. However, no diffuse hepatic fibrosis was observed in the liver, and hepatic stellate cells around the regions of cholangiofibrosis were negative for α-smooth muscle actin. The area of lipid droplets of a stellate cell in the liver of LEC rats was 1.6 to 1.8 times as large as that of normal Wistar rats. The hepatic stellate cells did not participate in the accumulation of collagen fibers around themselves when the cells contained a large amount of vitamin A-lipid droplets, even though the development of hepatic lesions was in progress. Our present data are consistent with our previous hypothesis that there is an antagonistic relationship between the storage of vitamin A and the production of collagen in stellate cells. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-348
Number of pages11
JournalThe Anatomical Record
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Fat-storing cell
  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Hepatic stellate cell
  • Long-Evans cinnamon-like colored (LEC) rat
  • Vitamin A-storing cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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