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Exp Cell Res. 1996 May 1;224(2):243-50.

Coexpression of stem cell factor and c-kit in embryonic and adult liver.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-4255, USA.


Stem cell factor and its receptor c-kit constitute an important signal transduction system implicated in survival, proliferation, and differentiation of stem cells in hematopoiesis, gametogenesis, and melanogenesis. In the present study we used both immunocytochemical methods and Western analysis to demonstrate the presence of this cytokine/receptor system in both embryonic and adult rat liver. Stem cell factor was present in the ductular cells around the portal vein during the late embryonic stage of the liver. In the adult liver both bile ducts and bile ductules were positive for stem cell factor and c-kit. When the activation of the liver stem cell compartment was induced by combining administration of acetylaminofluorene and partial hepatectomy, both stem cell factor and c-kit were expressed in the infiltrating oval cell population, but absent in the newly formed basophilic hepatocytes. Activation of oval cell proliferation following administration Of D-galactosamine also produced a similar but less prominent increase in the level of the stem cell factor. Our data suggest that the stem cell factor/c-kit signal transduction system is involved in the development of bile ducts and that it may also be an important member of the growth factor/receptor systems associated with the biology of liver stem cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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