Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of the Rat Intrahepatic Biliary Tree:
The intrahepatic biliary tree is a major target of a diverse group of hepatobiliary diseases, the cholangiopathies, which preferentially involve specific anatomical portions or segments of the bile ducts. Microscopic computed tomography (micro-CT) is a novel technique that allows reconstruction of the biliary tree network visualized by silicone polymer under conditions that preserve its original organization and allow quantitation of anatomical parameters (length, number and volume of segments along the longitudinal axis, branching pattern etc.) that cannot be done with other morphometrical methods. Detailed quantitative analysis of the intrahepatic biliary tree provides a better basis for characterizing its architecture and functional properties under pathological and pathophysiological conditions.