Two populations of Thy1-positive mesenchymal cells regulate in vitro maturation of hepatic progenitor cells
ABSTRACT We previously reported that the in vitro maturation of CD49f(+)Thy1(-)CD45(-) (CD49f positive) fetal hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) is supported by Thy1-positive mesenchymal cells derived from the fetal liver. These mesenchymal cell preparations contain two populations, one of a cuboidal shape and the other spindle shaped in morphology. In this study, we determined that the mucin-type transmembrane glycoprotein gp38 could distinguish cuboidal cells from spindle cells by immunocytochemistry. RT-PCR analysis revealed differences between isolated CD49f(+/-)Thy1(+)gp38(+)CD45(-) (gp38 positive) cells and CD49f(+/-)Thy1(+)gp38(-)CD45(-) (gp38 negative) cells, whereas both cells expressed mesenchymal cell markers. The coculture with gp38-positive cells promoted the maturation of CD49f-positive HPCs, which was estimated by positivity for periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining, whereas the coculture with gp38-negative cells maintained CD49f-positive HPCs negative for PAS staining. The expression of mature hepatocyte markers, such as tyrosine aminotransferase, tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase, and glucose-6-phosphatase, were upregulated on HPCs by coculture with gp38-positive cells. Furthermore, transmission electron microscopy revealed the acquisition of mature hepatocyte features by HPCs cocultured with gp38-positive cells. This effect on maturation of HPCs was inhibited by the addition of conditioned medium derived from gp38-negative cells. By contrast, the upregulation of bromodeoxyuridine incorporation by HPCs demonstrated the proliferative effect of coculture with gp38-negative cells. In conclusion, these results suggest that in vitro maturation of HPCs promoted by gp38-positive cells may be opposed by an inhibitory effect of gp38-negative cells, which likely maintain the immature, proliferative state of HPCs.
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ABSTRACT: Thy-1, a marker of hematopoietic stem cells, has been reported to be expressed by oval cells proliferating during stem cell-mediated regeneration in rat liver, suggesting a relationship between the two cell populations. Consequently, Thy-1 has become an accepted cell surface marker to sort hepatic oval cells. In the present study we used the well-characterized 2-acetylaminfluorene/partial hepatectomy model to induce transit-amplification of hepatic oval cells in the regenerating liver and characterized Thy-1 expression using Northern hybridization, quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis, immunofluorescence confocal microscopy, and immunoelectronmicroscopy. We found that Thy-1 expression was induced during transit-amplification of the oval cell population, but Thy-1 mRNA was not present in the alpha-fetoprotein-expressing oval cells. Thy-1 protein was consistently present outside the basement membrane surrounding the oval cells. It overlapped frequently with smooth muscle actin staining. A similar cellular localization of the Thy-1 protein was found on human liver specimens with ductular reactions obtained from patients with fulminant liver failure. Furthermore, Thy-1 was expressed by myofibroblasts in experimental liver fibrosis models without oval cell proliferation. We conclude that Thy-1 is not a marker of oval cells but is present on a subpopulation of myofibroblasts/stellate cells.American Journal Of Pathology 12/2007; 171(5):1529-37. DOI:10.2353/ajpath.2007.070273
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ABSTRACT: The worldwide shortage of donor livers to transplant end stage liver disease patients has prompted the search for alternative cell therapies for intractable liver disease. Embryonic stem cells can be readily differentiated into hepatocytes, and their transplantation into animals has improved liver function in the absence of teratoma formation: their use in bioartificial liver support is an obvious application. In animal models of liver disease, adopting strategies to provide a selective advantage for transplanted foetal or adult hepatocytes have proved highly effective in repopulating recipient livers, but the poor success of today's hepatocyte transplants can be attributed to the lack of a clinically applicable procedure to force a similar repopulation of the human liver. The activation of bipotential hepatic progenitor cells is clearly vital for survival in many cases of acute liver failure, but surprisingly little progress has been made with these cells in terms of transplantation. Finally there is the controversial subject of autologous bone marrow, and while the contribution of these indigenous cells to liver turnover seems at best, trivial, results from a small number of phase 1 studies of transplantation of bone marrow to cirrhotic patients have been moderately encouraging.Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 01/2008; 18(6):819-26. DOI:10.1016/j.semcdb.2007.09.016
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ABSTRACT: Hepatoblasts, which are considered one type of hepatic progenitor cell, reside in the fetal liver. To selectively identify these cells, we transfected primary cultured human fetal liver cells (FLCs) with a pGL3 vector bearing the gene for the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) under the control of the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) promoter expressed in hepatoblasts. The FLCs were then sorted by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) on the basis of AFP promoter-driven EGFP expression. The EGFP-positive cells expressed AFP, albumin, and cytokeratin 19, and could be expanded in vitro. Thus, the AFP promoter-EGFP reporter system is highly useful for identification and isolation of hepatic progenitor cells.Histochemie 06/2008; 130(2):375-85. DOI:10.1007/s00418-008-0439-2