Regulation of rat liver maturation in vitro by glucocorticoids

J. Y. Chou, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, T. Sakiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The biochemistry of liver maturation was studied by using the RLA209-15 fetal rat hepatocyte line that is temperature sensitive for maintenance of the differentiated fetal liver phenotype. At 33°C these cells were dedifferentiated; but at 40°C they were phenotypically differentiated and, like normal fetal hepatocytes, synthesized moderate levels of albumin and transferrin, high levels of authentic (69,000 and 73,000 molecular weight) rat fetal α-fetoprotein (AFP), and low levels of a 65,000-molecular-weight variant AFP. Our results indicated that administration of glucocorticoid hormones to RLA209-15 cells at 40°C induced a series of events associated with normal hepatocyte maturation; synthesis of fetal AFP was inhibited, whereas the synthesis of variant AFP, albumin, transferrin, tyrosine aminotransferase, and α1-acid glycoprotein was induced. The variant AFP was produced by RLA209-15 cells at both temperatures and was encoded by an mRNA of 1.7 kilobases (kb). The fetal AFP was encoded by an mRNA of 2.2 kb. Normal adult rat liver contained three AFP mRNAs of 2.2 (minor), 1.7, and 1.5 kb. The 1.7-kb adult liver AFP mRNA comigrated with the RNA found in RLA209-15 cells, and both directed the synthesis of a 50,000-molecular-weight precursor polypeptide of the variant AFP. Administration of glucocorticoids to RLA209-15 cells grown at 33°C stimulated synthesis of both the fetal and variant AFPs, but the levels of the 2.2-kb AFP mRNA were preferentially increased. RLA209-15 cells contained two glucocorticoid receptor mRNAs of 6.8 and 4.5 kb. The glucocorticoid-mediated maturation described above was blocked by the antiglucocorticoid RU486.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-209
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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