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J Hepatol. 2009 Jul;51(1):127-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2009.02.033. Epub 2009 May 5.

Analyses of cell surface molecules on hepatic stem/progenitor cells in mouse fetal liver.

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Division of Stem Cell Therapy, Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 1088639, Japan.



Hepatic stem/progenitor cells possess active proliferative ability and the capacity for differentiation into hepatic and cholangiocytic lineages. Our group and others have shown that a prospectively defined population in mid-gestational fetal liver contains hepatic stem/progenitor cells. However, the phenotypes of such cells are incompletely elucidated. We analyzed the profile of cell-surface molecules on primary hepatic stem/progenitor cells.


Expression of cell surface molecules on primary hepatic stem/progenitor cells in mouse mid-gestational fetal liver was analyzed using flow cytometric multicolor analyses and colony-formation assays. The potential of the cells for liver repopulation was examined by transplantation assay.


We found that CD13 (aminopeptidase N) was detected on the cells of the previously reported (Dlk/Pref-1(+)) hepatic stem/progenitor fraction. Colony-formation assays revealed that the CD13(+) fraction, compared with the Dlk(+) fraction, of non-hematopoietic cells in fetal liver was enriched in hepatic stem/progenitor cells. Transplantation assay showed the former fraction exhibited repopulating potential in regenerating liver. Moreover, flow cytometric analysis for over 90 antigens demonstrated enrichment of hepatic stem/progenitor cells using several positive selection markers, including (hitherto unknown) CD13, CD73, CD106, and CD133.


Our data indicated that CD13 is a positive selection marker for hepatic stem/progenitor cells in mid-gestational fetal liver.

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