Three-dimensional organization of fenestrae labyrinths in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells

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Background/Aims:Liver sinusoidal endothelial cell (LSEC) fenestrae are membrane-bound pores that are grouped in sieve plates and act as a bidirectional guardian in regulating transendothelial liver transport. The high permeability of the endothelial lining is explained by the presence of fenestrae and by various membrane-bound transport vesicles. The question as to whether fenestrae relate to other transport compartments remains unclear and has been debated since their discovery almost 40 years ago.Methods:In this study, novel insights concerning the three-dimensional (3D) organization of the fenestrated cytoplasm were built on transmission electron tomographical observations on isolated and cultured whole-mount LSECs. Classical transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy imaging was performed to accumulate cross-correlative structural evidence.Results and Conclusions:The data presented here indicate that different arrangements of fenestrae have to be considered: i.e. open fenestrae that lack any structural obstruction mainly located in the thin peripheral cytoplasm and complexes of multifolded fenestrae organized as labyrinth-like structures that are found in the proximity of the perinuclear area. Fenestrae in labyrinths constitute about one-third of the total LSEC porosity. The 3D reconstructions also revealed that coated pits and small membrane-bound vesicles are exclusively interspersed in the non-fenestrated cytoplasmic arms.

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