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Abstract

Multiple rounds of cell division were induced in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes in serum-free medium containing 10 mmol/L nicotinamide and 10 ng epidermal growth factor/ml. Cells per culture almost doubled between day 1 and day 5. The proliferating cells were predominantly mononucleate. The time course of DNA synthesis in cultured hepatocytes showed that peaks of the incorporation of 3Hthymidine were observed at 60 hr and 82 hr after plating. Labeling indices of the cells indicated that almost half the cells were labeled with 3H-thymidine in the periods 48 to 72 hr and 72 to 96 hr after plating. In addition, about 20% of the hepatocytes in culture initiated a second round of the cell cycle between 48 and 96 hr in culture, as demonstrated by the use of continuous treatments with 3H-thymidine and 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine. Furthermore, by day 4 of culture, about 40% and 15% of metaphases resulted from a second and third round of cell division, respectively. The cultured hepatocytes on day 5 stained with albumin immunocytochemically, and the activity of tyrosine aminotransferase was induced by dexamethasone and glucagon on day 3. In addition, electron micrographs revealed that dividing cells not only had many characteristics of liver mitochondria and bile canaliculus-like structures, but many also contained a few large peroxisomes with internal crystalline nucleoids. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:21–30).