“Developmental Anatomy of the Liver” by Lhuaire et al.

The specifics of the anatomy and development of the liver with reference to the vasculature that can be examined with a focus on embryogenesis need additional research because limited information is available on this topic. In their study, Lhuaire et al. (2015) investigated the details of developmental morphogenesis of the liver, paying attention to the vasculature, when using three-dimensional reconstructions of four human embryos at different stages of their evolution. To conduct this study, the researchers used the French historical collections of four human embryos in order to examine their serial histological sections at successive evolutionary stages (Carnegie stages 14, 18, 21, and 23). The researchers digitized several histological slides with the help of scanning them, and then they semi-automatically cut sections on the slides to isolate them from each other for selecting specific embryological structures manually. The resulting images were prepared (colored) for their further 3D reconstructions with the help of the ORS software based on the 3D tool and the X-Ray tool.

The analysis of the received reconstructions with the help of descriptive and analytical methods indicated that the examined Carnegie stages (14-23) contribute to implementing hepatic vascular patterns. Thus, the developmental morphogenesis of the liver, the biliary system, and the relationship between these studied structures was investigated in detail. The findings regarding the patterns of the morphogenesis of the liver and relationships between the hepatic venous system, the portal system, the hepatic artery, and other organs added significantly to the knowledge of these processes. It was concluded that 3D reconstructions are effective in performing morphological studies of the liver functions based on the descriptive analysis. The reason is that it was possible to examine the embryonic evolution of the human liver with reference to the analysis of particular serial histological sections between 14 and 23 Carnegie stages.


Lhuaire, M., Tonnelet, R., Renard, Y., Piardi, T., Sommacale, D., Duparc, F.,… Labrousse, M. (2015). Developmental anatomy of the liver from computerized three-dimensional reconstructions of four human embryos (from Carnegie stage 14 to 23). Annals of Anatomy-Anatomischer Anzeiger, 200, 105-113.