, Volume 236, Issue 2, pp 305-315

A morphometric study of the variations in subcellular structures of rat hepatocytes during 24 hours

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Subcellular structures of hepatocytes in periportal and perivenous zones were examined during 24 h. The volume, surface and numerical profile densities of cytoplasmic organelles were analysed morphometrically.

Most subcellular structures in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes were subject to strong circadian variations. In hepatocytes from both zones, the volume densities of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (sER), mitochondria, lysosomes, peroxisomes, polysomes and lipid droplets demonstrated peak values at 16.00 h, 20.00 h or 00.00 h; trough values were at 04.00 h, 08.00 h, or 12.00 h, except for peroxisomes (16.00 h). However, the volume densities of glycogen granules and rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER) in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes exhibited maximal values at 04.00 h, 08.00 h or 12.00 h and minimal values at 20.00 h. The surface densities of sER, mitochondria, lysosomes and peroxisomes, and the numerical profile densities of mitochondria, lysosomes and peroxisomes in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes showed similar trends. These events suggest that membranes of the rER show a partial correlation with the sER, mitochondrial and lysosomal membranes during the 24-h span. This may involve the interaction between ribosomes and rER. Almost all cytoplasmic organelles examined displayed significant differences between periportal and perivenous hepatocytes, morphometrically and in fine structure, indicating that the morphofunctional variability of hepatocytes differs depending on the location in the liver acinus.