Expression of lewisx and lewisy blood group related antigens in fetal livers

Debra S. Heller, Swan N. Thung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aberrant expression of blood group antigens has been observed in human cancers. Lewisx (Lex) and Lewisy (Ley) antigens are usually absent from parenchymal cells in the adult human liver, but frequently expressed on cholangiocarcinomas and less frequently on hepatocellular carcinomas. Little information is available on the distribution of these antigens in fetal livers. We studied five livers each from the first, second, and third trimesters, and infants by an immunohistochemical method on paraffin-embedded sections, using monoclonal antibodies to Lex and Ley antigens. Lex was seen in the bile duct epithelium of four out of five second and four of five third trimester fetal livers and in all the neonatal livers. Hepatocytes and bile duct epithelium of first trimester livers were negative. Ley staining of bile duct epithelium was present in all second and third trimester fetal livers and infant livers. Staining of hepatocytes was seen in four of five first, three of five second, two of five third trimester livers, and one of five infant livers. These observations suggest that the expression of Lex on hepatocytes decreases with gestational age and that the frequency of Lex and Ley expression in cholangio- and hepatocellular carcinomas follows that of fetal livers..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-687
Number of pages7
JournalFetal and Pediatric Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


  • Bile duct epithelium
  • Ductal plate
  • Fetal liver
  • Hepatocytes

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