The cytochrome P-450 content promptly fell in adult rat hepatocytes cultured in conventional conditions whereas no obvious change was detected over a 10-day period when these cells were co-cultured with another rat liver epithelial cell type. A concomitant maintenance of the amino-pyrine N-demethylase activity and a high aflatoxin B1-induced cytotoxicity was observed, and addition of phenobarbital to the culture medium produced about a 2-fold increase in cytochrome P-450 level. These results indicate that when placed in co-culture, adult hepatocytes remain differentiated for several days and suggest that such a co-culture system is an appropriate model for pharmacotoxicological studies.
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