FIGURE 8. Intralobular zonal gradient of vitamin A storage in HSCs. The zonal gradient of vitamin A storage is expressed as a symmetric biphasic profile with a peak at zone III and a downward slope toward zone V. Characteristically, the area of lipoid droplets in zone V is slightly smaller than that in zone I. Graphs were plotted with the mean value, depicting three animal species: polar bear (#), Arctic fox (A), and rat (♦).

SCs interaction and the SC activation at different time points after 70% PHx were investigated in the rat (Mabuchi et al., 2004). At 3 and 7 days after 70% PHx, the hepatic microcirculation was studied using intravital fluorescence microscopy. In separate groups, SCs and PCs were isolated and liver tissue was processed for histology and immunohistochemistry using anti-desmin (a marker of quiescent SCs) antibody and anti-alpha-smooth muscle actin (a-SMA; a marker of "activated" SCs) antibody. In the isolated PCs and SCs, double immunostaining was used to establish the presence of activated SCs [desmin and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU); desmin and a-SMA].

PC clusters were often seen in vivo at 3 days after 70% PHx. The distance between SCs fell from 61.7 ± 2.1 mm in controls to 36.1 ± 1.4 mm (p < 0.001) while the SCs:PCs ratio rose [0.71 ± 0.01 to 1.08 ± 0.03 (p < 0.001)]. In >80% of in vivo microscopic fields at 3 days after 70% PHx, clusters of HSCs were observed especially near PC clusters. At 1 and 3 days after PHx, >20% of cells

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