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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol. 1992 Mar;28A(3 Pt 1):193-8.

Dependency of the in vitro stabilization of differentiated functions in liver parenchymal cells on the type of cell line used for co-culture.

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Institute of Toxicology, University of Mainz, Germany.


The differentiation status in cultures of primary rat liver parenchymal cells was determined by measuring the activities of various xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. Most enzyme activities dropped rather rapidly in monocultures of parenchymal cells. The protein content and the activities of cytosolic epoxide hydrolase, glutathione S-transferase, and alpha-naphthol UDP-glucuronosyl transferase were, however, well stabilized in 7-day-old co-cultures of parenchymal cells with two different lines of rat liver nonparenchymal epithelial cells (NEC1 and NEC2). Phenol sulfotransferase and microsomal epoxide hydrolase activity were reduced in this coculture system after 7 days to about 30 and 20% of the initial activity. Generally, higher enzyme activities were measured in co-cultures with one specific epithelial cell line (NEC2) as compared to those with the other line (NEC1). C3H 10T1/2 mouse embryo fibroblasts supported the parenchymal cells even better than the two epithelial lines, because the activity of microsomal epoxide hydrolase was also stabilized. Glutathione transferase activity was increased over time in this co-culture system. Our results show that the differentiation status of liver parenchymal cells was much better stabilized in co-cultures than in monocultures but that, depending on the type of cells used for co-culture, great quantitative differences existed. The entire pattern of xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme activities could not be stabilized at the kind of levels found in freshly isolated parenchymal cells.

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