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Liver Biopsies Beyond Histological Diagnosis: Ex-vivo Culturing and Precision Cut Slices for Precision Pharmacology

The Liver: Overview, Histology and Pathology 

The liver (Fig. 1) is the largest organ in the human body and responsible for 1stand 2ndpass metabolism, where it is the nexus for nutritional and drug metabolism as well playing a crucial role in the excretory system for removal of endogenous waste products or xenobiological compounds. Optimal liver functioning requires temperature homeostasis (normothermia) and oxygen supply (normoxia) in this high metabolic demand organ to ensure optimal activity of all the endogenous cells as well as intra-organ biochemical communication. The bulk of the cell types found in liver tissues are mainly hepatocytes, with liver-specific immune cells called Kupffer cells, stellate cells, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, and cholangiocytes [ref].  Figure 1 shows selected liver tissue associated cells.


Figure 1: Histological analysis of human liver. Cells were stained for improved contrasting, where the biliary epithelial cells (a); endothelial cells (b); and macrophages are readily identifiable from the main tissue mass. (Figure taken and adapted from Paish et al, 2019).

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