Expression of insulin-like growth factor II and receptors for insulin-like growth factor II, insulin-like growth factor I and insulin in isolated and cultured rat hepatocytes

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Abstract

Insulin-like growth factor II is believed to play an important role in fetal growth and development. The insulin-like growth factor II gene expression is tissue specific and developmentally regulated. We have previously shown an enhanced level of insulin-like growth factor II messenger RNA and protein in human hepatocellular carcinomas. This led to the suggestion that hepatocytes might be involved in insulin-like growth factor II expression. However, previous studies based on in situ hybridization only showed insulin-like growth factor II messenger RNA in liver sinusoidal cells. This paper reports on the analysis of the expression of insulin-like growth factor II and insulin-like growth factor II, insulin-like growth factor I and insulin receptor messenger RNAs in vivo in isolated rat hepatocytes at various stages of development and in vitro in adult rat hepatocytes primary culture.

Our study indicates that isolated rat hepatocytes synthesize insulin-like growth factor II messenger RNA with a switch between fetal and adult messenger RNA profiles occurring 21 days after birth. In addition, adult rat hepatocytes in culture expressed insulin-like growth factor II messenger RNA and protein. Insulin-like growth factor II, insulin-like growth factor I and insulin receptor messenger RNAs were also detected.

Therefore these results are consistent with the hypothesis that insulin-like growth factor II acts as an autocrine growth factor for hepatocytes in addition to having a paracrine effect. They also indicate that primary culture of hepatocytes is a good model for further studies on insulin-like growth factor II gene regulation. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:936–940.)

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