High levels of E4-PHA-reactive oligosaccharides: potential as marker for cells with characteristics of hepatic progenitor cells

Glycoconj J. 2009 Dec;26(9):1213-23. doi: 10.1007/s10719-009-9240-2.


Oligosaccharides serve as markers of the cell surface and have been used as certain kinds of tumor markers. In the present study, we established a simple method for isolating hepatic progenitor cells using a lectin, which recognizes a characteristic oligosaccharide structure. Rat liver epithelial (RLE) cells, which have been established as a hepatic stem-like cell, were used to identify characteristic oligosaccharide structures on hepatic stem cells. As a result from lectin micro array, several types of lectin including E4-PHA were identified to bind RLE cells specifically. Furthermore, lectin blot and lectin flow cytometry analyses showed that binding to E(4)-PHA lectin was significantly increased in RLE cells, compared to hepatocytes, and hepatoma cells. The induction of differentiation into a hepatocyte lineage of RLE cells by treatment with Oncostatin M and dexamethasone resulted in a decrease in E(4)-PHA binding. Using an E(4)-PHA column, we succeeded in isolating hepatic stem cells from LEC (Long-Evans with cinnamon coat color) rat livers with fluminant hepatitis. The characteristics of the established cells were similar to RLE cells and had a potential of proliferating in rat liver. These results suggest that oligosaccharides can serve as a novel marker for the isolation of the hepatic progenitor cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Separation
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Phytohemagglutinins / metabolism*
  • Protein Array Analysis
  • Rats
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Lectins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Phytohemagglutinins