Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 3: Ins-Pla
Todd, Robert Bentley
called Glisson’s capsule, of the ramifications 
of the portal vein, hepatic duct, hepatic 
artery, hepatic veins, lymphatics and nerves. 
For an accurate knowledge of these different 
structures, anatomy is indebted to the labours 
of Mr. Kiernan, to whose paper on “ The 
Anatomy and Physiology of the Liver,” con¬ 
tained in the Philosophical Transactions for 
1833, 1 shall have constant occasion to refer. 
The small bodies (lobules, acini, corpuscula, 
glandular grains, granulations) of which the 
liver is composed were discovered by Wepfer 
in the liver of the pig, about two years pre¬ 
viously to the appearance of Malpighi’s cele¬ 
brated work, “ De Viscerum Structura Ex- 
ercitatio Anatomica.” Malpighi, unacquainted 
with Wepfer’s discovery, examined and des¬ 
cribed' these bodies, both in animals and in 
man, under the name of lobules ; and the lo¬ 
bules he found to consist of smaller bodies, 
which he named acini. From some want of 
precision in Malpighi’s descriptions, these two 
names have been confounded by the majority 
of succeeding anatomists ; the term lobules, 
with its distinctive application, has been disre¬ 
garded and forgotten, and the term acini has 
been applied to those minute bodies of which 
the liver appears to be formed when examined 
beneath the microscope with a moderate power, 
—the acini of Malpighi. So great, indeed, is 
the confusion of terms even in 1838, that we 
find a justly celebrated authority in minute 
anatomy, Miiller, in speaking of Kiernan’s 
discovery, using the following words. “ He ” 
(Kiernan) “ describes the lobules of the liver 
(which by other anatomists are termed acini),” 
and further on he observes : “ his description 
of their form is indeed similar to that which 
we have given above of the acini of the mace¬ 
rated liver of the polar bear.” Now, setting 
aside the anachronism of discovery contained 
in the above quotation, which, as it appears to 
me, should have been, our description of the 
acini of the polar bear is similar to his des¬ 
cription of the form of the lobules, inasmuch 
as Kieman’s discovery was published in 1833, 
and Miiller’s description of the macerated liver 
of the polar bear in 1835, I cannot but feel 
somewhat surprised in observing that Miiller 
draws no line of distinction between the lo¬ 
bules and their supposed constituents the 
acini. Nay, that he would seem to imply that 
all anatomists were acquainted with the lo¬ 
bules, but that they assigned to them a dif¬ 
ferent name. To prove that this is not the 
case, 1 quote a passage from his work upon 
the glands, published in 1830, in which he ex¬ 
presses himself unable to distinguish the ele¬ 
mentary structure of the liver either in man or 
in numerous other mammalia, for he says, “ In 
homine, ut in plurimis mammalibus, in he- 
patis superficie certa quædam particularum 
elementarium sive acinorum conformatio con- 
spici non potest.” Now the question to be de¬ 
cided, is the meaning which he assigns in this 
quotation to the word acinorum ; does he mean 
by that word the lobules or the acini of Mal¬ 
pighi ? The solution is simple; we have it in 
his own words, and exhibited in a figure in 
which his peculiar views of the anatomy of 
the organ are clearly illustrated. In this figure* 
(fig. 217, page 485,) he says, “ Observantur 
fines ductuum biliferorum elongati, seu cylin- 
driformes acini, in figuris ramosis et foliatis 
varié dispositi.” So that the acini of Miiller 
in 1830 are the terminations of the biliferous 
ducts, corresponding therefore with the acini of 
Malpighi, and the lobular biliary plexus of 
Kiernan. In 1835, as instanced in the “ ma¬ 
cerated liver of the polar bear,” the acini 
of Miiller are the lobules of Malpighi and 
Now seeing this indecision of opinion upon 
a subject of so great importance in relation to 
the proper understandingof the minute anatomy 
of the liver, I have deemed it my duty, in the 
service of anatomy, to place before my readers 
this cursory sketch of the history of the anatomy 
of the organ, and to establish the meaning of 
the terms I shall have occasion to use in des¬ 
cribing its intimate structure. By the word 
lobules I shall mean, not the acini of anato¬ 
mists, “ which are anything or everything or 
nothing as the case may be,” but the lobules of 
Malpighi and of Kiernan ;—by the word acini 
I shall indicate the smaller bodies of which 
the lobules appear to be composed (acini of 
Malpighi and of all writers); but which have 
been shewn by Kiernan to be the meshes of a 
plexus of biliary ducts, the “ lobular biliary 
The lobules are small granular bodies of 
about the size of a millet-seed, of an irregular 
form, and presenting a number of rounded pro¬ 
jecting processes upon their surface. When 
divided longitudinally (fig. 34) they have a 
foliated appearance, and transversely (fig. 35) 
Fig. 34. 
A longitudinal section of a sub-lobular vein. 
Nos. 1, 1, longitudinal sections of lobules, pre¬ 
senting a foliated appearance. 2, 2, superficial lo¬ 
bules terminating by a flat extremity upon the 
surface of the liver ; 3, 3, the capsular surface of 
a lobule ; 4, the bases of the lobules seen through 
the coats of the vein and forming the canal in which 
the sub-lobular vein is contained; 5, the intra-lo- 
bular vein commencing by minute venules at ashort 
distance from the capsular surface of the lobule ; 
6, the intra-lobular vein of a superficial lobule com¬ 
mencing directly from the surface ; 7, the open¬ 
ings of the intra-lobular veins which issue from the 
centre of the base of each lobule ; 8, the interlo¬ 
bular fissures seen through the coats of the sub-lo¬ 
bular vein ; 9, interlobular spaces.


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