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Zhong Nan Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2011 Jun;36(6):525-31. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1672-7347.2011.06.009.

Transversal inducing differentiation of human amniotic epithelial cells into hepatocyte-like cells.

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  • 1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Third Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410013, China.



To evaluate the in vitro differentiation of human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs ) into hepatocyte-like cells.


Combined approach of dexamethasone, HGF, IGF and other cytokines were used to induce the differentiation of hAECs into hepatocyte-like cells. The induction lasted 2 weeks. During the induction, the expression of albumin ALB, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, IGFR, c-met and key functional genes related to liver cells as well as transcription factors HNF3, HNF4 and C/EBPa were monitored by RT-PCR. Time dependent changes of the surface marker colony ALB, AFP and CK18 were analyzed by cell flow cytometry.


After the 2 week induction, the expressions of liver hepatocyte-like cell functional genes such as albumin, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, c-met, and transcription factors such as HNF3, HNF4, C/EBPa and HNF1 were observed. Six days after the induction, hAECs mainly were stained AFP+, and the positive rate was (15.1 ± 2.1)%. While 10 days after the induction, part of the hAECs showed AFP+/ALB+ (6.5 ± 1.4)%; and on 14th day, hAECs only showed ALB+, and the rate was (13.9 ± 2.3)%. ALB+ cell increase indicated a gradual functional maturation from the hAECs to hepatocyte-like cells. Similaritly, the number of CK18+ cells in the whole population was also increased: On 10th day, the rate was (16.1 ± 1.2)%; on 14th day, that was (21.3 ± 4.6)%, which proved the above hypothesis of the trandifferentiation. By extending the induction time, the expression of functional genes increased gradually, and a maturing process of hAECs was detected by cell surface markers.


The differentiation of hAECs induced in vitro has the characteristics of hepatocyte-like cells.

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