Light and electron microscopic features of the liver in mucopolysaccharidosis

Jeffrey M. Resnick, Chester B. Whitley, Arnold S. Leonard, William Krivit, Dale C. Snover

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32 Scopus citations


The mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) diseases lead to the accumulation of glycosaminoglycan in many tissues. In this study 19 MPS I, one MPS II, five MPS III, and two MPS VI patients underwent liver biopsy for light and electron microscopic examination. Electron microscopy was performed for all 27 specimens. Twenty-six specimens were studied by light microscopy, and the slides were stained with colloidal iron and alcian blue in 26 and six biopsy specimens, respectively. By hematoxylin-eosin stain 20 of 26 cases showed hepatocellular dilatation with rarefaction of the cytoplasm; the Kupffer cells were unremarkable. Twenty-four and 25 of the 26 biopsy specimens showed substantial colloidal iron staining of hepatocytes and Kupffer cells, respectively. The six biopsy specimens prepared with alcian blue stain showed no reactivity of any cell type. Electron microscopy revealed characteristic membrane-bound inclusions within the hepatocytes and Kupffer cells of all 27 biopsy specimens. Of 19 cases in which Ito cells were identified, 18 included cells containing similar inclusions. Twenty of 27 biopsy specimens also demonstrated the hepatocellular accumulation of lipid droplets. Although there were no absolute distinguishing features among the various MPS diseases, the two MPS VI cases showed glycosaminoglycan inclusions that were fewer in number, smaller, and contained more abundant lipofuscin than those associated with the other MPS types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-286
Number of pages11
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994


  • colloidal iron stain
  • electron microscopy
  • glycosaminoglycan
  • liver
  • mucopolysaccharidosis


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