A light-and electron-microscopic study of pig hepatocytes from late prenatal to early neonatal animals shows changes which reflect an increasing rate of synthetic activity. The granular endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in the prenatal pig hepatocyte is situated along the periphery of the cytoplasm and in the region immediately surrounding the nucleus. Mitochondria are most abundant in the area adjacent to the nucleus, while the Golgi complex is generally located in the region of the bile canaliculus. The remaining portion of the hepatocyte is occupied with glycogen. A few hours after birth the hepatocyte increases about twofold in size with the nucleus shifting from a peripheral to a more centrally located position. The glycogen decreases quickly coincident with a rapid increase in the amount of granular ER and the dispersion of the mitochondria throughout the cell. The Golgi complex becomes distended and numerous vesicles appear in its immediate vicinity containing a moderately dense material. Numerous peribiliary inclusions appear during the second postnatal day. These structural changes are an indication of the increased synthetic activity occurring within the hepatocytes of rapidly developing animals.

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