Ito cells are the osteoblasts or fibroblasts of the liver. They have the following functions:
uptake and storage of vit A
synthesis of extracellular matrix
synthesis and release of metalloproteinase and collagenase inhibitors
cytokine synthesis and release
These cells play an important role in cirrhosis. They are activated by cytokines from Kupffer cells and hepatocytes to transform into myofibroblast phenotype and synthesise collagen
They are both correct. Physiologically, Ito cells are located within the space of Disse and stores fat and vitamin A. However, when the liver is chronically inflames, such as when there is chronic hepatitis, the Ito cells lose the ability to store fat and are transformed into fibroblasts. When that occur these newly transformed fibroblasts deposit collagen within the liver which cause it to become fibrotic--the pathological formation of liver cirrhosis.
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