Abstract

Background. There is positive correlation between the number of activated hepatic stellate cells and necroinflammatory activity and/or the stage of liver fibrosis in viral hepatitis. No study has investigated such a relationship with regard to the activated hepatic cells within specified zones of liver tissue in chronic C hepatitis. The aim of the present study was to correlate the level of activated hepatic stellate cells within perivenular, intermediate, periportal, and portal tracts area and fibrous septa with stages of liver fibrosis and necroinflammatory activity in patients with chronic C hepatitis.

Methods.
 This retrospective study included 20 liver biopsy samples from patients with chronic C hepatitis and 10 normal liver biopsies. Biopsy specimens were processed routinely and stained with haematoxylin-eosin, periodic acid-Schiff, Masson`s trichrome, aldechide fuchsin, reticulin and iron (Pearls). Activated hepatic stellate cells were identified immunohistochemically using antibody to α-smooth muscle actin. Assesment of immunoreactivity was performed using a semiquantitative method.

Results.
 In chronic C hepatitis, a positive correlation between the stage of fibrosis and the number of activated hepatic stellate cells within portal spaces and fibrous septa was found. These cells were increased in number in other areas of liver tissue as well, but without statistical significance. There was no correlation between either the stage of fibrosis and necroinflammatory activity or the number of activated hepatic stellate cells and necroinflammatory activity.

Conclusion
. An increased number of activated hepatic stellate cells within portal spaces and fibrous septa may be a useful prognostic marker for the development of advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis in chronic C hepatitis.

Keywords

Hepatic stellate cells, hepatitis C, liver fibrosis, α SMA immunoreactivity