Cell shape and TGF-beta signaling define the choice of lineage during in vitro differentiation of mouse primary hepatic precursors

Akkari, L.; Haouzi, D.; Biname, F.; Floc'h, N.; Lassus, P.; Baghdiguian, S.; Hibner, U.

J Cell Physiol

2010-10 / vol 225 / pages 186-95


Cellular differentiation relies on both physical and chemical environmental cues. The bipotential mouse embryonic liver (BMEL) cells are early progenitors of liver epithelial cells with an apparently infinite proliferative potential. These cells, which remain undifferentiated in a monolayer culture, differentiate upon release from geometrical constraints imposed by growth on a stiff plastic plate. In a complex three dimensional environment of a Matrigel extracellular matrix, BMEL cells form two types of polarized organoids of distinct morphologies: cyst-like structures suggesting cholangiocyte-type organization or complex organoids, reminiscent of liver parenchyma and associated with acquisition of hepatocyte-specific phenotypic markers. The choice of the in vitro differentiation lineage is governed by Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling. Our results suggest that morphological cues initiate the differentiation of early hepatic precursors and confirm the inhibitory role of TGF-beta on hepatocytic lineage differentiation.

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1097-4652 (Electronic) 0021-9541 (Linking)


Humans; Animals; Cells, Cultured; Mice; Cell Differentiation/*physiology; Drug Combinations; *Cell Lineage; Signal Transduction/*physiology; *Cell Shape; Biological Markers/metabolism; Collagen/metabolism; Laminin/metabolism; Liver/*cytology/physiology; Organoids/cytology/metabolism; Proteoglycans/metabolism; Stem Cells/*cytology/physiology; Tissue Culture Techniques; Transforming Growth Factor beta/genetics/*metabolism

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