Effects of dexamethasone and cAMP on tyrosine aminotransferase expression in cultured fetal rat hepatocytes

Leslie L. SHELLY, George C T YEOH

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    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Fetal hepatocyte cultures were used to investigate tyrosine aminotransferase (TyrAT) expression during development. Previous studies showed that TyrAT is synthesized by hepatocytes isolated from 15‐day‐gestation fetuses maintained in culture for two or more days, then exposed to dexamethasone. TyrAT expression was essentially undetectable on the first day of culture of hepatocytes derived from 15‐day‐gestation, or less mature, fetuses. Dexamethasone and cAMP are potent inducers of TyrAT and they synergistically induce TyrAT to extremely high levels when added simultaneously to cultured fetal hepatocytes. The effects of dibutyryl‐cAMP (Bt2cAMP) alone and in combination with dexamethasone on TyrAT expression are investigated. Hepatocytes isolated from 15‐day‐gestation fetuses exposed to both inducers possessed detectable levels of TyrAT activity and mRNA on day 1 of culture, and this increased by day 3. In contrast, hepatocytes exposed to either inducing agent alone were essentially negative on day 1, but positive on day 3. This was shown to be a consequence of transcription. When 13‐day‐gestation hepatocytes were maintained in culture under identical conditions detectable levels of TyrAT mRNA were evident on day 1, and this increased by day 3. Immunocytochemical studies revealed that the appearance and subsequent increase in TyrAT production elicited by dexamethasone and Bt2cAMP were due to changes in the proportion of hepatocytes expressing the enzyme. Therefore, in the presence of both dexamethasone and Bt2cAMP, TyrAT expression can be detected in some cells at an earlier stage of liver development than reported previously.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)475-481
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1991


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