Differentiation capacity of hepatic stem/progenitor cells isolated from D-galactosamine-treated rat livers

Authors

  • Norihisa Ichinohe,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, the Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
    • Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, South-1, West-17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-8556, Japan
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    • fax: +81-11-615-3099

  • Naoki Tanimizu,

    1. Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, the Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Hidekazu Ooe,

    1. Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, the Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Yukio Nakamura,

    1. Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, the Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
    2. First Department of Surgery, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Toru Mizuguchi,

    1. First Department of Surgery, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Junko Kon,

    1. Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, the Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
    Current affiliation:
    1. Gene Techno Science Co. Ltd., Sapporo, Japan
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  • Koichi Hirata,

    1. First Department of Surgery, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Toshihiro Mitaka

    1. Department of Tissue Development and Regeneration, the Research Institute for Frontier Medicine, Sapporo, Japan
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Oval cells and small hepatocytes (SHs) are known to be hepatic stem and progenitor cells. Although oval cells are believed to differentiate into mature hepatocytes (MHs) through SHs, the details of their differentiation process are not well understood. Furthermore, it is not certain whether the induced cells possess fully mature functions as MHs. In the present experiment, we used Thy1 and CD44 to isolate oval and progenitor cells, respectively, from D-galactosamine-treated rat livers. Epidermal growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, or hepatocyte growth factor could trigger the hepatocytic differentiation of sorted Thy1+ cells to form epithelial cell colonies, and the combination of the factors stimulated the emergence and expansion of the colonies. Cells in the Thy1+-derived colonies grew more slowly than those in the CD44+-derived ones in vitro and in vivo and the degree of their hepatocytic differentiation increased with CD44 expression. Although the induced hepatocytes derived from Thy1+ and CD44+ cells showed similar morphology to MHs and formed organoids from the colonies similar to those from SHs, many hepatic differentiated functions of the induced hepatocytes were less well performed than those of mature SHs derived from the healthy liver. The gene expression of cytochrome P450 1A2, tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase, and carbamoylphosphate synthetase I was lower in the induced hepatocytes than in mature SHs. In addition, the protein expression of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha and bile canalicular formation could not reach the levels of production of mature SHs. Conclusion: The results suggest that, although Thy1+ and CD44+ cells are able to differentiate into hepatocytes, the degree of maturation of the induced hepatocytes may not be equal to that of healthy resident hepatocytes. (HEPATOLOGY 2013)

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