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. 1998 May;292(2):395-410.
doi: 10.1007/s004410051069.

Uptake of Lithium Carmine by Sinusoidal Endothelial and Kupffer Cells of the Rat Liver: New Insights Into the Classical Vital Staining and the Reticulo-Endothelial System

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Uptake of Lithium Carmine by Sinusoidal Endothelial and Kupffer Cells of the Rat Liver: New Insights Into the Classical Vital Staining and the Reticulo-Endothelial System

Y Kawai et al. Cell Tissue Res. .

Abstract

Sinusoidal cells in the rat liver were studied in vivo and in vitro using the original vital staining with lithium carmine, which has contributed much to the development of the concept of the reticulo-endothelial system. Immunohistochemical and electron-microscopic studies revealed that the dye-incorporating cells were sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells, and monocytes. The endothelial cells took up much more dye than did the Kupffer cells and bulged largely into the sinusoidal lumen. Electron microscopy revealed that small particles of lithium carmine were associated with coated vesicles of endothelial cells and ruffled membranes of Kupffer cells. In the endothelial cells, these particles were present in various concentrations within vacuolated structures and condensed in the lysosomes forming large aggregates of lithium carmine lumps. These lumps showed crystalline structures, within which the size of the individual particle was up to 30 nm in width and 50 nm in length. A few endothelial cells containing abundant dye underwent degeneration, and some were taken up by Kupffer cells. Liver endothelial cells isolated from lithium carmine-administered rats endocytosed fluorescence-labeled collagen. Isolated endothelial cells from normal rat liver, when cultured with lithium carmine, did not take up any dye, and their endocytosis of formaldehyde-treated albumin was inhibited dose-dependently. We conclude that in the liver, endothelial cells, but not Kupffer cells, predominantly take up lithium carmine. Furthermore, we propose the existence of a generalized cell system based on its vital staining capacity.

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