Discrete bodies which may be designated cytochondria occupy the greater part of the cytoplasm of liver cells. A part, but not all, of these bodies have the characteristics of mitochondria. They consist of a rim which stains deeply and a central part which stains faintly or remains unstained.
In liver cells about portal spaces, in foci of regeneration, and in tumor cells the rims of the cytochondria stain with basic dyes and contain ribonucleic acid or related substances.
With increasing accumulation of basophile substances about cytochondria as the central veins are approached, these bodies aggregate to form clumps or orient themselves with palisade-like arrangment in two rows just within the margins of the liver cell columns.
With aggregation of the cytochondria that are surrounded by basophile material, other cytochondria in the same cells are devoid of this material and wholly acidophile.
With chromatolysis (disappearance of basophile substance) caused by dimethylaminoazobeiizene (butter yellow) cytochondria lose their peripheral basophilia and stain only with acid dyes. When ribonucleic acid is removed from fixed liver tissue by ribonuclease, cytochondria lose their affinity for basic stains and become acidophile.
Of the cytochondria that are surrounded by ribonucleic acid or related substances part have the characteristics of mitochondria.
Under the influence of butter yellow cytochondria may become greatly swollen and intensely acidophile in the center though they retain their basophile rim. These swollen bodies in part at least have the reactions of mitochondria.
In tumor cells of hepatomas mitochondria are smaller and less abundant than in parenchymatous cells of the liver, and accompanying them are bodies of similar size which do not react as mitochondria.
The cytochondria of hepatomas produced by butter yellow undergo acidophile degeneration similar to that of liver cells and form swollen spherical bodies with basophile rims. With partial or complete loss of basophile substance, these altered cytochondria may form conspicuous cell inclusions.