Send to

Choose Destination
J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997 Apr;12(4):325-30.

Dimethylsulfoxide maintains intercellular communication by preserving the gap junctional protein connexin32 in primary cultured hepatocyte doublets from rats.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology, Juntendo University, School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Intercellular communication via gap junctions is one of the differentiated functions of cells. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is known to induce cell differentiation and maintain differentiated cellular functions in primary hepatocyte culture, but the mechanism of action of DMSO is unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effect of DMSO on cell-cell communication via gap junctions of hepatocyte doublets, which are differentiated cells that lose differentiated functions with time in culture. In isolated rat hepatocyte doublets, we assessed the effects of 1, 2 and 3% DMSO in culture medium on morphological changes and dye-coupling activity between pairs of cells by microinjection with fluorescent dye (Lucifer Yellow CH). The distribution of gap junction protein connexin32 (Cx32) was assessed by indirect immunofluorescence analysis and the Cx32 mRNA was detected by the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction method. Dimethylsulfoxide delayed the morphological change of hepatocyte doublets from a spherical to a flattened shape. Dye-coupling efficiency significantly decreased with time in culture in the control group, whereas in groups treated with 2 and 3% DMSO, dye-coupling efficiency was retained after 6 and 9 h of inoculation (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively). Analysis by indirect immunofluorescence showed few fluorescent spots for Cx32 in the control group at 9 h of incubation, whereas many punctate fluorescent spots were seen in the 3% DMSO group at 9 h of incubation. The detection of Cx32 mRNA in the 3% DMSO group was also stronger than in controls. Dimethylsulfoxide significantly maintained intercellular communication via gap junctions in primary cultured rat hepatocytes through the preservation of functional Cx32 protein, thus maintaining cell differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center