Original Articles

Molecular and Chemical Neuropathology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 279-287

First online:

Distinctive pattern of Bergmann glial pathology in human hepatic encephalopathy

  • Jillian J. KrilAffiliated withCentre for Education and Research on Ageing, Concord HospitalDepartment of Pathology, The University of Sydney Email author 
  • , Dimity FlowersAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, The University of Sydney
  • , Roger F. ButterworthAffiliated withNeuroscience Research Unit, Hôpital St-Luc

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Alzheimer type II astrocytosis is the pathological hallmark of hepatic encephalopathy. These astrocytes undergo a characteristic morphological change and, in addition, lose immunoreactivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). However, a previous study in the portacaval shunted rat, a model of hepatic encephalopathy, revealed increased rather than decreased GFAP immunoreactivity in Bergmann glia, a specialized group of cerebellar astrocytes. In the present study, sections of cerebellar vermis from 15 cirrhotic patients with hepatic encephalopathy and varying degrees of Alzheimer type II astrocytosis were stained using antisera to GFAP. The Bergmann glial cells did not show altered GFAP immunoreactivity compared to controls. In addition, the degree of GFAP immunoreactivity was not correlated with the degree of Alzheimer type II change nor related to the aetiology of the liver disease. These results suggest a differential response of Bergmann glia in human hepatic encephalopathy.

Index Entries

Hepatic encephalopathy glial fibrillary acidic protein Alzheimer type II astrocytosis Bergmann glia cerebellum cirrhosis of the liver