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Propagation of Adult Rat Bone Marrow-Derived Hepatocyte-Like Cells by Serial Passages In Vitro

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Previously, we found that hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-Met)-and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)-expressing cells were present in adult rat bone marrow, and that these cells also expressed hematopoietic stem cell markers, such as CD34, Thy-1, and c-Kit. When bone marrow cells were cultured in a hepatocyte growth medium (HGM) with HGF and EGF, colonies composed of polygonal cells resembling mature hepatocytes appeared by 2 weeks and grew very slowly because of overgrowth of stromal cells. At days 34–41, 2-mm2 sheets of hepatocyte-like cells were cut out of their colonies by scratching with an injection needle under observation with a phase contrast microscope, transferred into wells of 24-well plates, and cultured in the HGM medium in the presence or absence of HGF and EGF. When cells reached confluence, cells were detached with trypsin and EDTA and transferred step by step into bigger culture vessels. Thus, hepatocyte-like cells were expanded 1000-fold during less than 4 months. These cells were immunocytochemically stained for albumin and also for AFP and the hematopoietic stem cell markers described above, showing characteristics of oval cells. By RT-PCR, we detected mRNAs of tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase and tyrosine aminotransferase, markers of hepatocytes at a terminal differentiation stage. The present culture system may be useful for supply of hepatocyte resources for cell transplantation therapy.
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Keywords: Albumin; Bone marrow cells; Hepatocyte-like cells; In vitro expansion; Tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase; Tyrosine aminotransferase

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Cell Biology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho, Okayama 700-8558, Japan

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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