The intrahepatic biliary system was studied in the rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri), a teleost known to form liver neoplasms after exposure to various carcinogens. Normal adults (N = 25) were examined using light microscopic, enzyme histochemical, and transmission and scanning electron microscopic methods. In light micrographs, longitudinal arrays of hepatocytes appeared as double rows incompletely divided by elongated darkly stained cells. Electron micrographs showed tubules of five to nine pyramidally shaped hepatocytes with their apices directed toward a central biliary passageway and their bases directed toward sinusoids. Sequentially, beginning with hepatocytes, biliary passageways included canaliculi, preductules, ductules, and ducts. Canaliculi were short and joined transitional passageways (preductules) formed by junctional complexes between plasma membranes of hepatocytes and small, electron‐dense cells with a high nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio. Ductules, completely lined by biliary epithelial cells, occupied central regions of hepatic tubules. Relatively elongated, ductular cells were intimately associated with surrounding hepatocytes, separated from them by only a thin extracellular space devoid of a basal lamina. Epithelium of bile ducts included cuboidal through mucus‐laden columnar cells, surrounded by basal lamina and, in larger ducts, by fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, and a capillary plexus. Bile ducts and hepatic arterioles, but not venules, were distributed together. The ultrastructure of biliary epithelium, periductular, and periductal cells is presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)