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Am J Pathol. 1997 Aug;151(2):353-9.

Evaluation of the differentiation potential of WB-F344 rat liver epithelial stem-like cells in vivo. Differentiation to hepatocytes after transplantation into dipeptidylpeptidase-IV-deficient rat liver.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill 27599, USA.


After intrahepatic transplantation into livers of adult syngeneic German-strain Fischer 344 rats that are deficient for the bile canalicular enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV), cultured WB-F344 rat liver epithelial cells (without exogenous marker genes) integrate into hepatic plates and differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells that are morphologically and functionally indistinguishable from mature hepatocytes. In this model system, the differentiated progeny of transplanted WB-F344 cells are identified among the DPP-IV-negative host hepatocytes by their expression of bile canalicular DPP-IV enzyme activity. DPP-IV-positive hepatocyte-like cells also expressed other markers of hepatocytic differentiation, including albumin, transferrin, and alpha-1-antitrypsin, suggesting that the progeny of transplanted WB-F344 cells express a complete hepatocyte differentiation program. These results complement our previous studies indicating WB-F344 cells can serve as stem-like precursor cells for differentiated hepatocytes and strengthen the suggestion that WB-F344 rat liver epithelial cells represent the cultured counterpart of liver stem-like hepatocyte progenitor cells present in the normal adult rat liver.

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