Novel functional hepatocyte cell line derived from spontaneous dwarf rat: Model of growth hormone function in vitro


Dr Mayumi Ishikawa, The Division of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo 143-8541, Japan. Email:


Currently there is no good hepatocyte model for studying growth hormone (GH) function that reflects its normal physiological roles. Here we report the establishment of a functional hepatocyte cell line, SDRL-1, from the liver of young male spontaneous dwarf rats (SDR), with isolated GH deficiency. This line has been maintained in Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM)/F12 medium supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum (FBS) with retention of a near diploid karyotype for extended periods of time. When grown as a monolayer sheet, it displayed a pavement-like appearance and contact inhibition. These cells have a poorly developed rough endoplasmic reticulum (r-ER), few mitochondria and glycogen granules, and produce a small amount of albumin and α-fetoprotein, that is enhanced when grown on a collagen gel sponge. Human recombinant GH stimulated JAK2 and STAT5b tyrosine phosphorylation and IGF-I production in a concentration-dependent manner. When the cells were cultured with GH-supplemented medium, the number of mitochondria and glycogen granules increased together with the r-ER and Golgi apparatus. A number of microvilli were observed on the surface of the cultured cells, further suggesting that this cell line is composed of normally functioning hepatocytes. In summary, we established a novel hepatocyte cell line (SDRL-1), that appears to display normal function, which we propose can serve as a good in vitro model for studying GH-target organ interactions.