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.
Braet, F., Riches, J., Geerts, W., Jahn, K. A., Eddie Wisse, E., & Frederik, P. (2009). Three-dimensional organization of fenestrae labyrinths in liver sinusoidal endothelial cells. Liver International, 29(4), 603-613. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-3231.2008.01836.x