Virchows Archiv A

, Volume 369, Issue 1, pp 19–27 | Cite as

Déficit en alpha-1-antitrypsine chez l'enfant

Ultrastructure du foie et spéculations
  • Jacques M. Scotto
  • Hélène G. Stralin
  • Daniel Alagille

Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency in children

Liver ultrastructure and speculations


Fourteen liver biopsies from twelve young patients with liver diseases associated with homozygous, PiZZ phenotype, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency in their sera were examined by electron microscopy.

In all these biopsies characteristic homogeneous material was found in some hepatocytes and corresponded, when observed on adjacent semithin sections by light microscopy, to the deposit stained by periodic acid Schiff reaction. The accumulation in perinuclear spaces resulted in intranuclear invaginations, but the major deposit was located in lumens of the endoplasmic reticulum. The limiting membranes were rough and smooth but the extent of the latter was so large that only this type of reticulum seemed peculiarly involved in the accumulating process.

On the contrary, Golgi complexes did not seen obligatorily involved by this process because, when observed, they appeared almost normal even in heavily overloaded liver cells.

At least for the PiZZ phenotype, the abnormal substance would be an asialo form of normal alpha-1-antitrypsin. Thus the subject of this study is the morphologic translation of an impairment in the synthesis of a glycoprotein.

In the light of data concerning the synthesis of such proteins our findings lead us to suggest:

The ultrastructural patterns observed in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency cannot give the expected morphologic evidence of the biochemical data which locate the first binding steps of monosaccharide residues in the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

The absence of sialic acid could not result from an enzymatic defect primarily located in Golgi complexes but could be secondary to an impairment in the binding of one monosaccharide residue which improves subsequent fixation of sialic acid, in the smooth endoplasmic reticulum.

Finally it seems necessary to emphasize that the relationship between the abnormal substance and various important non specific lesions is largely unknown and that we don't know the significance of polymorphous dense bodies observed in ductular cells during the cholestatic period.

Key words

Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency Liver Electron microscopy Endoplasmic reticulum 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques M. Scotto
    • 1
  • Hélène G. Stralin
    • 1
  • Daniel Alagille
    • 1
  1. 1.Unité d'Hépatologie Infantile, U 56 de l'I.N.S.E.R.M., Hôpital de BicêtreLe Kremlin-Bicêtre

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