In pathological conditions such as liver cirrhosis, the HSCs lose vitamin A, proliferate vigorously, and synthesize and secrete a large amount of extracellular matrix (ECM) components such as collagen, proteoglycan, and glycoprotein. The structure of the cells also changes from star-shaped SCs to that of fibroblast-like cells or myofibroblasts (Majno, 1979) with well-developed rough-surfaced endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus (Fig. 9) (Blomhoff and Wake, 1991; Sato et al., 2003; Senoo and Wake, 1985; Senoo et al., 1997).
In order to elucidate cell type or types responsible for collagen metabolism among non-parenchymal cells in the liver, collagen production by SCs, Kupffer cells, and SECs was analyzed (Senoo et al., 1984). SCs were found to produce collagen on day 8 in primary culture, although collagen production was not induced at an earlier stage of culture (day 2). Capability of collagen production by cells was retained in the secondary culture, suggesting that the
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