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Volume 9 (2009), Pages 190-199
Research Article

Localization of Liv2 as an Immature Hepatocyte Marker in EB Outgrowth

Department of Anatomy and Organ Technology, School of Medicine, Shinshu University, Matsumoto, Japan

Received 28 October 2008; Revised 27 January 2009; Accepted 4 February 2009

Academic Editor: Margaret Tzaphlidou

Copyright © 2009 Ikkei Takashimizu et al.


The objective of this study was to establish Liv2, a surface marker of mouse immature hepatocytes (hepatoblasts), as a selection tool for embryonic stem (ES) cell–derived immature hepatocytes by acquiring basic data on Liv2 in normal mouse embryos and by confirming Liv2 expression in mouse ES-derived cells. The estimated molecular weight of Liv2 was 40–45 kDa, and immunoreactivity was definitively detected in the cell membrane of fetal hepatocytes on embryonic day (E) 9.5, declined gradually until E12.5, and subsequently became undetectable. Liv2 was localized on and close to the cell membrane. Embryoid bodies (EB) were formed from mouse ES cells whose undifferentiated state was confirmed with immunostaining of Nanog by the hanging drop method. A few Liv2-positive cells occurred as a cluster in EB outgrowth on day 7, but only some of these were albumin (ALB)-positive on day 13. These cells had the same pattern of immunoreactivity, i.e., localization on the cell membrane, as immature hepatocytes in the developing liver, although there were other types of cells with a different pattern of immunoreactivity that were seen only as a granular pattern in the cytoplasm and without ALB or the neuronal marker nestin. These results suggest that Liv2 may be useful as a surface marker for immature hepatocytes derived from ES cells. This application would allow for the sole selection of immature hepatocytes and provide a useful tool for regenerative medicine.