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J Biol Chem. 1983 Apr 25;258(8):4901-6.

alpha-Fetoprotein and albumin mRNA levels in liver regeneration and carcinogenesis.


Using a titration procedure, we measured the proportion of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and albumin mRNA in normal, regenerating, and preneoplastic rat livers. AFP mRNA constitutes approximately 0.006% of the polysomal polyadenylated RNA of normal livers and this proportion increases only slightly before the onset of DNA synthesis in liver regeneration induced by partial hepatectomy or CCl4 injury. In either model of liver regeneration, the proportion of AFP mRNA in polysomal RNA is highest approximately 24 h after the peak of DNA synthesis. The increase in the proportion of AFP mRNA in polysomal RNA is relatively small during liver regeneration (2-4-fold) but is larger (30-50-fold) in preneoplastic livers of rats fed a choline-deficient diet containing 0.1% ethionine. In contrast to those changes in AFP mRNA, albumin mRNA levels remain unchanged during liver regeneration and double in preneoplastic livers. Our results indicate that the concept of "retrodifferentiation" as it applies to liver regeneration and certain types of hepatic neoplasia needs reevaluation.

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