Membrane modifications in the course of hepatocyte isolation

Elisabetta Falcieri, Rosalba Del Coco, Adriana R. Mariani, Pietro Gobbi, Patrizia Santi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A transmission E/M, scanning E/M and freeze fracture ultrastructural study has been performed on the rat hepatocyte in the course of isolation from the liver parenchyma. The cell submicroscopic aspect indicates a good morpho-functional preservation from the liver perfusion to the final stages of cell isolation. The freeze fracture membrane analysis evidentiates the constant presence of gap junctions and tight junctions, characterized by particular structural alterations, probably due to progressive functional uncoupling. The persistence of these cell differentiations until complete cell isolation may be considered a further morphological expression of the maintenance of the differentiated stage of the hepatocyte. Fragments of membranes from adjacent cells, still adherent to isolated hepatocyte surfaces, can also be occasionally detected by freeze-fracture techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1990


  • electron microscopy
  • hepatocyte
  • isolation
  • membrane junctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biotechnology


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