Flow-cytometric separation and enrichment of hepatic progenitor cells in the developing mouse liver

Hepatology. 2000 Dec;32(6):1230-9. doi: 10.1053/jhep.2000.20349.


Stem cells responsible for tissue maintenance and repair are found in a number of organs. However, hepatic stem cells assumed to play a key role in liver development and regeneration remain to be well characterized. To address this issue, we set up a culture system in which primitive hepatic progenitor cells formed colonies. By combining this culture system with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), cells forming colonies containing distinct hepatocytes and cholangiocytes were identified in the fetal mouse liver. These cells express both CD49f and CD29 (alpha6 and beta1 integrin subunits), but do not mark for hematopoietic antigens such as CD45, TER119, and c-Kit. When transplanted into the spleen, these cells migrated to the recipient liver and differentiated into liver parenchymal cells. Our data demonstrate that hepatic progenitor cells are enriched by FACS and suggest approaches to supplanting organ allografting and improving artificial-organ hepatic support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Separation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Integrin alpha6
  • Integrin beta1 / analysis
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Liver / embryology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Spleen / physiology
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / immunology
  • Stem Cells / physiology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Integrin alpha6
  • Integrin beta1