Space of Disse

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Sinusoid of a rat liver with fenestrated endothelial cells. Fenestrae are approx 100 nm diameter, and the sinusoidal width 5 µm. Scanning electron micrograph by Robin Fraser, University of Otago.

The space of Disse (or perisinusoidal space) is a location in the liver between a hepatocyte and a sinusoid. It contains the blood plasma. Microvilli of hepatocytes extend into this space, allowing proteins and other plasma components from the sinusoids to be taken up by the hepatocytes. This space may be obliterated in liver disease, leading to decreased uptake by hepatocytes of nutrients and wastes (like bilirubin, for example).

The Space of Disse also contains Ito cells which store fat or fat soluble vitamins (like vitamin A). Excessive intake of fat soluble vitamins can lead to pathologically enlarged Ito cells, which can form collagen and lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis.

The Space of Disse was named after German anatomist, Joseph Disse (1852–1912).

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