Expression of epithelial cadherin and α- and β-catenins in nontumoral livers and hepatocellular carcinomas

Akira Ihara, Hirotaka Koizumi*, Rintaro Hashizume, Toshiyuki Uchikoshi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Expression of the cell adhesion molecule, epithelial cadherin (E-CD) and its binding proteins, α- and β-catenins, in normal liver, chronic liver diseases, and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) was investigated immunohistologically. In normal liver, weak immunostaining of E-CD and catenins was observed at the lateral membranes of the hepatocytes, whereas at the interlobular bile duct epithelia, they stained strongly. No immunoreactions were seen in sinusoidal Kupffer cells. Similar results were observed in the majority of livers from chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis sufferers; however, hepatocytes undergoing regeneration and rosette formation, as well as Hering canals and proliferating ductules, showed markedly increased molecular expression. Analysis of 66 HCC lesions revealed that the majority (64.396.6%) of thin trabecular- and pseudoglandular-type tumors preserved or overexpressed E-CD and catenins, whereas thick trabecular-type HCCs frequently showed low E-CD and α-catenin expression (56.5-65.2% reduction), suggesting that the thick trabecular histology represented diffuse tumor cell growth. Likewise, the E-CD and catenin expression levels correlated with the HCC cell differentiation grades. These collective results indicate that intercellular adhesion mediated by the E- CD-catenin system plays a role in morphological changes in nonmalignant and malignant hepatic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1447
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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