Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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A study of connexin expression in monolayer cultures of primary rat hepatocytes

Mathieu Vinken1,3, Tamara Vanhaecke1, Peggy Papeleu1, Sarah Snykers1, Tom Henkens1, Greetje Elaut 1, James Kevin Chipman2 and Vera Rogiers1
1Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels, Belgium, 2School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 3Mathieu Vinken is a doctoral research fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research
Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen), Belgium

Dedifferentiation in primary cultures of adult rat hepatocytes was studied at the level of connexin expression. It was found that Cx32 protein levels gradually declined, whereas Cx26 production remained relatively stable during seven days of cultivation. Cx43, a connexin species produced by foetal hepatocytes but not by their adult counterparts, progressively appeared and was present both at the cell membrane surface and in the cytosol. Overall, this connexin switching process was associated with low gap junctional intercellular communication activity. These data provide new insights into hepatocyte dedifferentiation and aid in the optimisation of long-term primary hepatocyte cultures.

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