Basement Membrane Type IV Collagen and Laminin: An Overview of Their Biology and Value as Fibrosis Biomarkers of Liver Disease

Ki M. Mak, Rena Mei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


Basement membranes provide structural support to epithelium, endothelium, muscles, fat cells, Schwann cells, and axons. Basement membranes are multifunctional: they modulate cellular behavior, regulate organogenesis, promote tissue repair, form a barrier to filtration and tumor metastasis, bind growth factors, and mediate angiogenesis. All basement membranes contain type IV collagen (Col IV), laminin, nidogen, and perlecan. Col IV and laminin self-assemble into two independent supramolecular networks that are linked to nidogen and perlecan to form a morphological discernable basement membrane/basal lamina. The triple helical region, 7S domain and NCI domain of Col IV, laminin and laminin fragment P1 have been evaluated as noninvasive fibrosis biomarkers of alcoholic liver disease, viral hepatitis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Elevated serum Col IV and laminin are related to degrees of fibrosis and severity of hepatitis, and may reflect hepatic basement membrane metabolism. But the serum assays have not been linked to disclosing the anatomical sites and lobular distribution of perisinusoidal basement membrane formation in the liver. Hepatic sinusoids normally lack a basement membrane, although Col IV is a normal matrix component of the space of Disse. In liver disease, laminin deposits in the space of Disse and codistributes with Col IV, forming a perisinusoidal basement membrane. Concomitantly, the sinusoidal endothelium loses its fenestrae and is transformed into vascular type endothelium. These changes lead to capillarization of hepatic sinusoids, a significant pathology that impairs hepatic function. Accordingly, codistribution of Col IV and laminin serves as histochemical marker of perisinusoidal basement membrane formation in liver disease. Anat Rec, 300:1371–1390, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1390
Number of pages20
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • basement membrane
  • capillarization of hepatic sinusoids
  • perisinusoidal basement membrane immunohistochemical marker
  • serum liver fibrosis biomarkers
  • type IV collagen and laminin


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