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Cytometry A. 2007 Jan;71(1):28-37.

Chromatin supraorganization and extensibility in mouse hepatocytes with development and aging.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Biology, State University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.



Chromatin supraorganization and extensibility, which lead to the formation of extended chromatin fibers (ECF), are affected by starvation and refeeding in adult mouse hepatocytes. It is expected that they could also change with mouse development and aging.


Methods used involved topochemistry, image analysis, microspectrophotometry, gravity action, and polarization microscopy.


Increased nuclear areas and Feulgen-DNA amounts with advancing hepatocyte polyploidy were found with development and aging. A slightly less packed chromatin with more heterogeneously distributed condensation levels was detected in young and old mice. Con-A responsiveness was almost absent in young mice but very deep in aged mice. ECFs formed from nuclei of adult and aged mice but not from nuclei of young mice. The frequency of ECF formation with the long lysis protocol increased with aging.


In young mice, a less packed chromatin state may be associated with more intense gene activity, thus increasing the DNA-nuclear matrix interactions, and inhibiting ECF formation. Reduced DNA-nuclear matrix interactions besides defects in heterochromatin formation may induce higher ECF formation and chromatin unpackaging in old mice. We suggest that differences in Con-A staining relate to different gene activity with advancing development and aging.

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