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Cell Transplant. 2003;12(4):423-38.

Evaluation of 2-year-old intrasplenic fetal liver tissue transplants in rats.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, D-07743 Jena, Germany.


Liver cell transplantation into host organs like the spleen may possibly provide a temporary relief after extensive liver resection or severe liver disease or may enable treatment of an enzyme deficiency. With time, however, dedifferentiation or malignant transformation of the ectopically transplanted cells may be possible. Thus, in the present study syngenic fetal liver tissue suspensions were transplanted into the spleen of adult male rats and evaluated 2 years thereafter in comparison to orthotopic livers for histopathological changes and (as markers for preneoplastic transformation) for cytochrome P450 (P450) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) isoform expression. Because inducibility of P450 and GST isoforms may be changed in preneoplastic foci, prior to sacrifice animals were additionally treated either with beta-naphthoflavone, phenobarbital, dexamethasone, or the respective solvent. In the 2-year-old grafts more than 70% of the spleen mass was occupied by the transplant. The transplanted hepatocytes were arranged in cord-like structures. Also few bile ducts were present. Morphologically, no signs of malignancy were visible. With all rats, transplant recipients as well as controls, however, discrete nodular structures were seen in the livers. Due to age, both livers and transplants displayed only a low P450 2B1 and 3A2 and GST class alpha and mu isoform expression. No immunostaining for P450 1A1 was visible. At both sites, beta-naphthoflavone, phenobarbital, or dexamethasone treatment enhanced P450 1A1, P450 2B1 and 3A2, or P450 3A2 expression, respectively. No immunostaining for GST class pi isoforms was seen in the transplants. The livers of both transplant recipients and control rats, however, displayed GST pi-positive foci, corresponding to the nodular structures seen histomorphologically. Compared to the surrounding tissue, these foci also exhibited a more pronounced staining for GST class alpha and mu isoforms and a stronger inducibility of the P450 1A1 expression due to beta-naphthoflavone. In conclusion, in contrast to the livers, no preneoplastic foci seem to appear in the intrasplenic transplants even 2 years after transplantation. This may be due either to the protection of these transplants by the orthotopic livers or to the different humoral and nerval influences at the ectopic site.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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