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Histochemistry. 1989;92(4):337-42.

Induction of glutamine synthetase and transient co-expression with carbamoylphosphate synthetase in hepatocytes transplanted into fat pads of syngeneic hosts.

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  • 1Physiologisch-chemisches Institut, Universität Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


Isolated rat hepatocytes were transplanted into the interscapular and both anterior lateral fat pads of hepatectomized syngeneic rats. At various time points following transplantation, the fat pads were removed, fixed and embedded in paraffin. Serial sections were stained for glutamine synthetase (GS) and carbamoylphosphate synthetase (CPS) using specific antisera and the PAP technique. The initially low fraction of GS+-heptatocytes remained low up to the fourth day, then increased strikingly up to almost 100% and declined gradually after the 14th day. In contrast, the number of CPS+-cells declined continuously to about 30% after 28 days. If the animals were exposed to CCl4 prior to the isolation of the hepatocytes in order to reduce the number of GS+-cells in the initial cell suspension similar results were obtained and no difference in the probability of the colony formation was noted between this and the normal hepatocyte suspensions indicating that the appearance of the GS+-phenotype was not due to a selective survival of these cells. Analysis of the staining intensity of the transplanted hepatocytes revealed the appearance of two populations of GS+-hepatocytes, one with a strong and one with a weak staining, during the course of formation of larger nodules, while only a single weakly stained population could be discerned with respect to the staining for CPS. These results demonstrate that all hepatocytes or at least their descendents can be induced to express GS by the environmental conditions of the fat pads, and that GS and CPS can be co-expressed with an apparently reciprocal relationship.

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