Immunohistochemical characterisation of the hepatic stem cell niche in feline hepatic lipidosis: a preliminary morphological study

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    Objectives The aim of this study was to describe the cellular and stromal components of the hepatic progenitor cell niche in feline hepatic lipidosis (FHL). Methods Immunohistochemical staining for the progenitor/bile duct marker (K19), activated Kupffer cells (MAC387), myofibroblasts (alpha-smooth muscle actin [α-SMA]) and the extracellular matrix component laminin were used on seven liver biopsies of cats with FHL and three healthy cats. Double immunofluorescence stainings were performed to investigate co-localisation of different cell types in the hepatic progenitor cell (HPC) niche. Results HPCs, Kupffer cells, myofibroblasts and laminin deposition were observed in the liver samples of FHL, although with variability in the expression and positivity of the different immunostainings between different samples. When compared with the unaffected cats where K19 positivity and minimal α-SMA and laminin positivity were seen mainly in the portal area, in the majority of FHL samples K19 and α-SMA-positive cells and laminin positivity were seen also in the periportal and parenchymatous area. MAC387-positive cells were present throughout the parenchyma. Conclusions and relevance This is a preliminary morphological study to describe the activation and co-localisation of components of the HPC niche in FHL. Although the HPC niche in FHL resembles that described in hepatopathies in dogs and in feline lymphocytic cholangitis, the expression of K19, α-SMA, MAC387 and lamin is more variable in FHL, and a common pattern of activation could not be established. Nevertheless, when HPCs were activated, a spatial association between HPCs and their niche could be demonstrated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)165-172
    JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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