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Genes Dev. 2011 Jun 1;25(11):1185-92. doi: 10.1101/gad.2027811.

Foxl1-Cre-marked adult hepatic progenitors have clonogenic and bilineage differentiation potential.

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Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA.


Isolation of hepatic progenitor cells is a promising approach for cell replacement therapy of chronic liver disease. The winged helix transcription factor Foxl1 is a marker for progenitor cells and their descendants in the mouse liver in vivo. Here, we purify progenitor cells from Foxl1-Cre; RosaYFP mice and evaluate their proliferative and differentiation potential in vitro. Treatment of Foxl1-Cre; RosaYFP mice with a 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine diet led to an increase of the percentage of YFP-labeled Foxl1(+) cells. Clonogenic assays demonstrated that up to 3.6% of Foxl1(+) cells had proliferative potential. Foxl1(+) cells differentiated into cholangiocytes and hepatocytes in vitro, depending on the culture condition employed. Microarray analyses indicated that Foxl1(+) cells express stem cell markers such as Prom1 as well as differentiation markers such as Ck19 and Hnf4a. Thus, the Foxl1-Cre; RosaYFP model allows for easy isolation of adult hepatic progenitor cells that can be expanded and differentiated in culture.

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