Retention of the differentiated state by larvalXenopus liver cells in primary culture

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Electron microscopic analysis of primary cultures derived from larvalXenopus liver has shown that these cells, although they form only two-dimensional aggregates, retain and presumably also develop structural characteristics typical of liver parenchyma cells, such as bile canaliculi with microvilli and epithelial junctional complexes. As judged from structural criteria, primary cultures contain 80–90% hepatocytes. In contrast to the intact tissue, primary cultures showed excessive development of microfilaments, however.

Incorporation of labeled amino acids has revealed further that the capacity for protein synthesis is maintained in culture and that synthesis of liverspecific protein albumin is maintained in vitro, even in liver cultures derived from thyrostatic tadpoles. This latter result suggests that initiation of albumin synthesis in the larval liver is probably not dependent upon thyroid hormones but rather reflects the protodifferentiated state of this tissue.