The effects of dexamethasone on metabolic activity of hepatocytes in primary monolayer culture

In Vitro. 1980 Jul;16(7):559-70. doi: 10.1007/BF02618379.


The effects of dexamethasone on multiple metabolic functions of adult rat hepatocytes in monolayer culture were studied. Adult rat liver parenchymal cells were isolated by collagenase perfusion and cultured as a primary monolayer in HI/WO/BA, a serum free, completely defined, synthetic culture medium. Cells inoculated into the culture medium formed a monolayer within 24 hr. Electron microscopy showed that the cells in primary culture had a fine structure identical to liver parenchymal cells in vivo, including the observation of desmosomes and bile canaliculi in intercellular space. There was significant gluconeogenesis by the cells 24 hr postinoculation but it had decreased markedly by 48 hr. There was a marked induction of tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) by dexamethasone, which was maintained for up to 72 hr postinoculation of cells. The transport of alpha-aminoisobutyric acid into the cells in monolayer culture was stimulated by dexamethasone and was dependent on the concentration of dexamethasone. Albumin synthesis and secretion by the cells was measured by a quantitative electroimmunoassay. Albumin production was shown to increase linearly over an incubation period of 24 to 48 hr postinoculation. Dexamethasone depressed the albumin synthesis. The effects of dexamethasone are slow, and at times require more than 6 hr to show variation from the control, indicating that dexamethasone is not a single controlling hormone. Possibly it functions in a cooperative and coordinating role in the regulation of cell metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / biosynthesis
  • Aminoisobutyric Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Gluconeogenesis / drug effects
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Tyrosine Transaminase / biosynthesis


  • Albumins
  • Aminoisobutyric Acids
  • Culture Media
  • Dexamethasone
  • Tyrosine Transaminase