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Cell Tissue Res. 2010 Jun;340(3):451-7. doi: 10.1007/s00441-010-0955-y. Epub 2010 Apr 22.

Co-culture of primary rat hepatocytes with rat liver epithelial cells enhances interleukin-6-induced acute-phase protein response.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Three different primary rat hepatocyte culture methods were compared for their ability to allow the secretion of fibrinogen and albumin under basal and IL-6-stimulated conditions. These culture methods comprised the co-culture of hepatocytes with rat liver epithelial cells (CC-RLEC), a collagen type I sandwich culture (SW) and a conventional primary hepatocyte monolayer culture (ML). Basal albumin secretion was most stable over time in SW. Fibrinogen secretion was induced by IL-6 in all cell culture models. Compared with ML, CC-RLEC showed an almost three-fold higher fibrinogen secretion under both control and IL-6-stimulated conditions. Induction of fibrinogen release by IL-6 was lowest in SW. Albumin secretion was decreased after IL-6 stimulation in both ML and CC-RLEC. Thus, cells growing under the various primary hepatocyte cell culture techniques react differently to IL-6 stimulation with regard to acute-phase protein secretion. CC-RLEC is the preferred method for studying cytokine-mediated induction of acute-phase proteins, because of the pronounced stimulation of fibrinogen secretion upon IL-6 exposure under these conditions.

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