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Transplantation. 1989 Jul;48(1):87-92.

Selective proliferation of chemically altered rat liver epithelial cells following hepatic transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence 02903.

Abstract

Although proliferation of oval cells is often observed during the early stages of chemical hepatocarcinogenesis, the role of these putative hepatic stem cells during the neoplastic process is unknown. In earlier studies our laboratory showed that feeding a choline-deficient (CD) diet containing 0.05% 2-acetylaminofluorene (CD-AAF) to rats produced three subpopulations of oval cells that antigenically resemble biliary duct cells, fetal liver cells, and transitional cells. In the present investigation we have employed a semiallogeneic transplantation protocol in order to study the fate of these nonparenchymal epithelial cells (NPEC) beyond the 4-week endpoint imposed by the lethality of CD-AAF diet. An enriched NPEC suspension containing gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase (GGT)-positive oval cells (greater than 75%) was isolated from ACI rats maintained on CD-AAF diet for 3 weeks. The donor cells were transplanted via the portal vein into livers of male F1 progeny (LExACI) that had been fed a CD diet for 7 days prior to receiving a partial hepatectomy and the cell suspension. Host rats were then fed either a CD or choline-supplemented (CS) diet for 12 weeks and killed. Colonies of donor-derived cells identified in frozen sections by their lack of reactivity with ACI anti-LE alloantiserum in indirect immunofluorescence (IF) assays were only observed in rats continuously fed the CD diet. Histochemical analysis indicated that the donor-derived colonies expressed GGT, a preneoplastic marker for liver cancer. IF assays using MAbs previously shown to be capable of distinguishing between oval cells and mature hepatocytes indicated that the donor-derived colonies consisted of a mixture of cells with phenotypes resembling those of mature and immature hepatocytes rather than those of oval or ductal cells. Although the cellular origin of the GGT+ donor-derived colonies has not been unequivocally resolved, our results demonstrate that the livers of rats fed a CD-AAF diet contain a chemically altered call population that can be induced to proliferate by a CD diet. In contrast, a CD diet did not promote colonization when normal hepatocytes were employed as the donor cell population, suggesting that the GGT+ oval cells and not the few contaminating GGT- hepatocytes (1%) in the CD-AAF donor cell suspension were the preneoplastic precursors that gave rise to donor-derived colonies. This transplantation protocol will be useful to define the biological potential of chemically altered liver cells during carcinogenesis.

PMID:
2665241
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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