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Development of Cirrhosis of the Liver
- Normal Liver, Fatty Metamorphosis and Cirrhosis of the Liver 

First study the slide of normal liver. Notice the size and shape of the liver cells, the purple nuclei and pink cytoplasm. Notice the pale colored sinusoids (specialized capillaries) situated between strands of liver cells.   

Normal liver (40X2.0)                                                                      Normal liver (400X2.0)

On the slide of fatty degeneration (fatty metamorphosis), you will note large clear bubbles or vacuoles within the liver cells. Notice how these vacuoles occupy a large proportion of the cell's volume and push the cytoplasm up against the cell membrane, forming "signet ring cells". These vacuoles contain fat which has accumulated due to abnormal biochemical reactions within the cell. These changes occur with various types of injury to the liver, including the early stages of cirrhosis.
Fatty liver (40X2.0)                                                                          Fatty liver (400X2.0)
* Is fatty degeneration a reversible or irreversible change?

With continued assault to liver cells, cells will die and be replaced by scar tissue. On the slide of cirrhosis of the liver, notice bands of fibrous scar tissue which extend through the liver and separate lobules of functioning liver cells. The many small blue cells are inflammatory cells, which are WBCs that invaded the area and indicate that inflammation is occurring. (See also the photograph of Liver/Cirrhosis).

Cirrhosis (40X2.0)                                                                           Cirrhosis  (400X2.0) 
Fibrosis tissue (top) and inflammatory cells (middle)

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Copyright 2001 - Augustine G. DiGiovanna - All rights reserved.

This material may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in any data base or retrieval system without prior written permission is obtained from Augustine G. DiGiovanna, Ph.D.,  Professor of Biology, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD  21801.