In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 217–222

Modulation of the liver specific phenotype in the human hepatoblastoma line Hep G2

  • James H. Kelly
  • Gretchen J. Darlington
Rapid Communications in Cell Biology

DOI: 10.1007/BF02626182

Cite this article as:
Kelly, J.H. & Darlington, G.J. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol (1989) 25: 217. doi:10.1007/BF02626182


The human hepatoblastoma line Hep G2 modulates gene expression in vitro in response to increasing culture density. Two stages of growth can be defined. At low density (<200,000 cells/cm2) the cultures have a doubling time of 24 h and exhibit several characteristics of fetal liver cells, including increased synthesis of alphafetoprotein, reduced synthesis of albumin, a predominance of the fetal isoenzymes of both aldolase and pyruvate kinase and a reduced level of the cell surface receptor for asialoglycoproteins. Confluent, high density cultures of Hep G2 (>1×106 cells/cm2) have a doubling time of 193 h, a four fold higher level of albumin production, increased levels of the adult isoenzymes of aldolase and pyruvate kinase and increased asialoglycoprotein receptor. The alteration in albumin and alphafetoprotein synthesis was reflected by changes in the messenger RNA levels and the relative transcription of these two genes. Hep G2 provides a cell culture model for the modulation of the liver phenotype which occurs during fetal/adult development or during liver regeneration.

Key words

Hep G2 liver transcription albumin AFP isoenzymes 

Copyright information

© Tissue Culture Association, Inc 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • James H. Kelly
    • 1
  • Gretchen J. Darlington
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyBaylor College of MedicineHouston

Personalised recommendations