Histopathological characteristics of Ito cells and Kupffer cells in the feline liver

J Vet Med Sci. 2006 Mar;68(3):235-42. doi: 10.1292/jvms.68.235.


The histopathological characteristics of Ito cells and Kupffer cells were investigated in the liver of 21 cats (age range: 6 months -18 years) autopsied in our laboratory during 2003. Immunohistochemical examinations were performed using antibodies against lysozyme, desmin and alpha-smooth muscle actin. No Kupffer cells reacted with the antibody against lysozyme. However, macrophages in the lung and spleen showed a positive reaction with the antibody. This finding suggests a possibility that the amount of lysozyme in the Kupffer cells of feline liver is comparatively small. On the other hand, large vacuole-laden cells were observed in the hepatic perisinusoid of some feline cases, and these cells showed a positive reaction with antibodies against desmin and alpha-smooth muscle actin. These cells could be Ito cells with large lipid vacuoles. This conclusion was supported by electron microscopic observation and oil red O staining. However, no such large vacuole-laden perisinusoidal cells were detected in the liver of young cats less than 2 years old. The present study revealed the histopathological features of Kupffer cells and Ito cells in the feline liver.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / isolation & purification
  • Animals
  • Cats / metabolism
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Desmin / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • Kupffer Cells / cytology*
  • Kupffer Cells / enzymology
  • Kupffer Cells / metabolism
  • Kupffer Cells / ultrastructure
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron / veterinary
  • Muramidase / isolation & purification


  • Actins
  • Desmin
  • Muramidase