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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 May 23;305(1):46-53.

Hepatic lineages isolated from developing rat liver show different ways of maturation.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, Universit√§tsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that different hepatic cell types exist during liver development: (i). cells co-expressing the stem-cell marker Thy1 and the hepatic lineage marker CK-18 and (ii). cells only expressing CK-18 (hepatoblasts). In this study we separated the different hepatic cells and analyzed gene-expression and phenotype. Fetal rat livers were digested by collagenase solution. OX43- and OX44-positive hematopoietic cells were depleted and Thy1-positive cells were enriched using Magnetic cell sorting. The different cell compartments were analyzed by RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry for Thy1, CK-18, AFP, and albumin. Hepatoblasts expressed albumin at all times and AFP in the early stages. Thy1-enriched cells expressed CK-18 at all times, albumin in the early, and AFP in the late stages. Thy1-positive cells from fetal livers express liver specific genes. The data suggest that Thy1-positive hepatic cells develop towards hepatic stem cells, and hepatoblasts develop towards mature hepatocytes of the adult liver.

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