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Mech Dev. 2003 Jul;120(7):791-800.

Impaired differentiation of fetal hepatocytes in homozygous jumonji mice.

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  • 1Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology, Teikyo University Biotechnology Research Center, Miyamae, 216-0001 Kawasaki, Japan.


Homozygous jumonji (jmj(-)/jmj(-)) mice were previously shown to exhibit hepatic hypoplasia and defective hematopoiesis in the liver and die at around embryonic day 15.5 (E15.5), suggesting that jmj is essential for liver development. In order to gain insight into the mechanism of liver development, we analyzed the expression and function of jmj in fetal hepatocytes. The number of hepatocytes in jmj(-)/jmj(-) mice was markedly reduced in comparison with control mice and the expression of jmj in hepatocytes increased along with development. As jmj(-)/jmj(-) embryos die by E15.5, we employed an in vitro culture system in which fetal hepatocytes differentiate in response to oncostatin M. The proliferation potential of jmj(-)/jmj(-) hepatocytes was comparable to that of wild type cells in vitro, however maturation of hepatocytes as evidenced by the expression of liver enzymes such as tyrosine amino transferase was severely impaired by the jmj gene inactivation. These results suggested that jmj plays a pivotal role in the development of mid-fetal hepatocytes to the neonatal stage.

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