Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.298, No.1, 24-30, 2002
Improved conditions to induce hepatocytes from rat bone marrow cells in culture
Recent studies have revealed that bone marrow cells can develop into hepatocytes by in vivo transplantation under certain circumstances. However, little is known about the mechanism of bone marrow cell differentiation into hepatocytes. It is important to determine suitable culture conditions in which bone marrow cells will be differentiated into hepatocytes not only for understanding differentiation mechanisms but also for efficient amplification of hepatocyte-progenitor cells of bone marrow origin, this being a prerequisite for potential therapeutic use. In the present study, we found that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor (c-Met)- and a-fetoprotein-expressing cells were present in adult rat bone marrow. We also found that these cells also express hematopoietic stem cell markers, such as CD34, Thy-1, and c-Kit. Using an HGM medium with HGF and EGF, we succeeded in propagating hepatocyte-like cells induced from adult rat bone marrow in culture. These cells were immunocytochemically stained for albumin. By RT-PCR analysis of cultures containing the hepatocyte-like cells, we detected mRNAs of tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase and tyrosine aminotransferase, markers of hepatocytes at a terminal differentiation stage. The present culture therefore can be a useful resource for cell transplantation therapy for liver diseases. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.