Hepatocytes, or liver epithelial cells, give rise to the basic structure of the liver. Hepatocytes range from 20-30 µm in diameter and have six or more surfaces. Hepatocytes may have one to two nuclei and also nucleoli. Additionally, the hepatocyte is abundant in mitochondria and smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum. The epithelial cells of the liver are grouped together to form functional units referred to as liver lobules.
Major functions of hepatocytes are to synthesize and secrete bile, form and store proteins, remove toxins, and store and release carbohydrates.
A liver biopsy stained with Gordon & Sweets reticulin stain demonstrating normal reticulin architecture, arrangement of hepatocytes, and nuclear detail.
A liver biopsy stained with Gordon & Sweets reticulin stain demonstrating abnormal, reticulin collapse as well as abnormal arrangement of hepatocytes.