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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1988 Aug 12;961(3):351-63.

Lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in Hep G2 cells.

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INSERM U.55, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France.


Lipid composition, lipid synthesis and lipoprotein secretion by the Hep G2 cell line have been studied with substrate and insulin supplied under different conditions. The lipid composition of Hep G2 cells was close to that of normal human liver, except for a higher content in sphingomyelin (P less than 0.005) and a lower phosphatidylcholine/sphingomyelin ratio. Most of the [14C]triacylglycerols secreted into the medium were recovered by ultracentrifugation at densities of 1.006 to 1.020 g/ml. The main apolipoproteins secreted were apo B-100 and apo A-I. Hep G2 mRNA synthesized in vitro the pro-apolipoproteins A-I and E. Triacylglycerol secretion was 7.38 +/- 1.04 micrograms/mg cell protein per 20 h with 5.5 mM glucose in the medium and increased linearly with glucose concentration. Oleic acid (1 mM) increased the incorporation of [3H]glycerol into the medium and cell triacylglycerols by 251 and 899%, with a concomitant increment in cell triacylglycerols and cholesterol ester. Insulin (1 mU or 7 pmol/ml) inhibited triacylglycerol secretion and [35S]methionine incorporation into secreted protein by 47 and 28%, respectively, with a corresponding increase in the cells. Preincubation of cells with 2.5-10 mM mevalonolactone decreased the incorporation of [14C]acetate into cholesterol 6.2-fold, indicating an inhibitory effect on HMG-CoA reductase. It is concluded that in spite of some differences between Hep G2 and normal human hepatocytes, this line offers an alternative and reliable model for studies on liver lipid metabolism.

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