Thy-1 is an in vivo and in vitro marker of liver myofibroblasts
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- Dudas, J., Mansuroglu, T., Batusic, D. et al. Cell Tissue Res (2007) 329: 503. doi:10.1007/s00441-007-0437-z
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Thy-1, a glycophosphatidylinositol-linked glycoprotein of the outer membrane leaflet, has been described in myofibroblasts of several organs. Previous studies have shown that, in fetal liver, Thy-1 is expressed in a subpopulation of ductular/progenitor cells. The aim of this study has been to investigate whether the liver myofibroblasts belong to the Thy-1-positive subpopulation of the adult liver. The expression of Thy-1 has been studied in normal rat liver, in the rat liver regeneration model following 2-acetylaminofluorene treatment and partial hepatectomy (AAF/PH), and in isolated rat liver cells, at the mRNA and protein levels. In normal rat liver, Thy-1 is detected in sparse cells of the periportal area, whereas 7 days after PH in the AAF/PH model, a marked increase of the number of Thy-1-positive cells is detectable by immunohistochemistry. Comparative immunohistochemical analysis has revealed the co-localization of Thy-1 and smooth muscle actin, but not of Thy-1 and cytokeratin-19, both in normal rat liver and in the AAF/PH model. Investigation of isolated rat liver cell populations has confirmed that liver myofibroblasts are Thy-1-positive cells, whereas hepatocytes, hepatic stellate cells, and liver macrophages are not. Thy-1 is the first cell surface marker for identifying liver myofibroblasts in vivo and in vitro.