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Thromb Res. 2002 Aug 15;107(3-4):169-74.

Plasminogen activator-plasmin system potentiates the proliferation of hepatocytes in primary culture.

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Department of Nutrition and Physiology, Nihon University Graduate School of Applied Life Sciences, Kameino 1866, Fujisawa, Kanagawa 252-8510, Japan.



Liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy is thought to be regulated by various molecules including the components of the plasminogen activator (PA)-plasmin system. We have examined the role of fibrinolytic factors, i.e., tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), and their substrate, plasminogen, in the proliferation of hepatocytes in primary culture.


Hepatocyte and nonparenchymal liver cells were isolated from Wistar strain rat by a method perfusing the liver with collagenase. DNA synthesis was assessed by measuring the incorporation of [3H]-thymidine into cellular DNA fraction. tPA, uPA and type-1 plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) gene expressions were measured by Northern blotting. PA activity was measured by fibrin/agarose plate method.


Cellular density-dependent DNA synthesis was observed in the primary cultured hepatocytes; DNA synthesis was lower at high cell density (1.0 x 10(5) cells/cm(2)) than that at low cell density (0.2 x 10(5) cells/cm(2)). DNA synthesis in the hepatocytes cultured at a low cell density was increased by co-culture with nonparenchymal liver cells. Under these growth-stimulated culture conditions, tPA and uPA mRNAs were induced and up-regulated. On the contrary, the PAI-1 mRNA level was decreased under these conditions, and total PA activity was augmented accordingly. The synthetic plasmin inhibitor tranexamic acid, a competitive inhibitor for the plasmin molecule, and PASI-535, a plasmin active center-directed inhibitor, both suppressed hepatocyte proliferation in a dose-dependent fashion. Anti-plasmin antibody also suppressed hepatocyte proliferation.


The up-regulation of PA activity for ensuring plasmin activity should be an important mechanism in the proliferation of hepatocytes.

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