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Exp Cell Res. 1992 Oct;202(2):495-500.

Differential proliferative response of cultured fetal and regenerating hepatocytes to growth factors and hormones.

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Departamento de Bioquimica y Biologia Molecular, Centro Mixto C.S.I.C./U.C.M., Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, Spain.


Upon epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation, fetal (20 days of gestation) and regenerating (44-48 h after partial hepatectomy) rat hepatocytes, isolated and cultured under identical conditions, increased DNA synthesis and entered into S-phase and mitosis, measured as [3H]thymidine incorporation and DNA content per nucleus in a flow cytometer, respectively. Fetal hepatocytes consisted of a homogeneous population of diploid (2C) cells. Two different populations of cells were present in regenerating liver, diploid (2C) and tetraploid (4C) cells, that responded to EGF. Glucagon or norepinephrine did not affect EGF stimulation of DNA synthesis in fetal liver cells, but they potentiated EGF response in regenerating hepatocyte cultures. Glucocorticoid hormones (dexamethasone) inhibited DNA synthesis in fetal hepatocyte cultures, an effect potentiated by the presence of glucagon or norepinephrine. In contrast, in regenerating hepatocytes, dexamethasone increased EGF-induced proliferation. EGF-dependent DNA synthesis was inhibited by TGF-beta in both fetal and regenerating cultured hepatocytes. TGF-beta action was partially suppressed by norepinephrine in regenerating hepatocytes, but was without effect in fetal hepatocyte cultures, whereas a synergistic action between TGF-beta and dexamethasone inhibiting growth in fetal but not in regenerating hepatocytes was found. Taken together, these results may suggest that there are significant differences between fetal and regenerating hepatocyte growth in their response to various hormones.

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