Support of cultured hepatocytes by a laminin-rich gel. Evidence for a functionally significant subendothelial matrix in normal rat liver

J Clin Invest. 1987 Mar;79(3):801-12. doi: 10.1172/JCI112887.


The subendothelial space of normal rat liver contains the constituent proteins of a basal lamina, as judged by immunohistochemical study of tissue sections. However, it is unknown whether these proteins constitute a complex with effects on hepatocellular function. We have examined this question, using normal rat hepatocytes cultured on substrata of matrix proteins as a model of the interaction between cells and basal lamina in vivo. In cultures on a type I collagen substratum, albumin secretion decreased progressively after 2 d. By contrast, when cells were cultured on a laminin-rich gel matrix, albumin secretion was stable for at least 3 wk; other functions and ultrastructural morphology were similarly maintained. None of the individual matrix proteins effectively substituted for the gel matrix, suggesting that full support of hepatocellular function requires a complex of matrix proteins. We speculate that a cause of hepatocellular dysfunction in acute inflammation is disruption of this matrix and alteration of its interaction with the hepatocyte plasma membrane.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / physiology
  • Culture Media
  • Endothelium / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gels
  • Laminin / physiology*
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Liver / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Albumins
  • Culture Media
  • Gels
  • Laminin
  • Proteins
  • Collagen