Liver gender dimorphism: insights from quantitative morphology
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It was shown recently that many genes are differentially expressed in the liver of males and females, thus strengthening the concept of liver gender dimorphism. This dimorphism exists in many pathological scenarios, from regeneration to fibrosis, which has led to the development of gender hepatology. Nevertheless, it is still unknown if gender dimorphism occurs in the structure of the normal liver. In recent years, it has been shown that, compared with male, the female rat liver bears less fibrotic tissue, more Kupffer cells (per volume unit) and has higher hepatocellularity, including binucleated hepatocytes (per volume unit). Our hypothesis is that the human liver also hides a gender dimorphic pattern. Baseline differences in fibrotic tissue would contribute to explain severe liver fibrosis in men. As to the disparity of Kupffer cells, this would clarify the stronger response to post-surgery infections in women, and it could be equated when appraising the higher susceptibility to alcohol. Regarding differences in hepatocytes, they not only justify existing differences in some liver parameters (e.g., transaminases and bilirubin), but they could also account for the higher regenerative potential of the female liver. The structural dimorphism in the human liver would sustain the concept of gender hepatology and, eventually, should be considered in the context of liver transplantation.
Accepted for publication
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Histology and Histopathology
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