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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Pyruvate-induced Long-term Maintenance of Glutathione S-Transferase in Rat Hepatocyte Cultures

Tamara Vanhaecke, André Foriers, Albert Geerts, Elizabeth A. Shephard, Antoine Vercruysse and Vera Rogiers

The addition of pyruvate to the culture medium has been reported to improve the maintenance of P450-dependent enzyme expression in primary rat hepatocyte cultures. In this study, the effects of 30mM pyruvate on cell morphology, albumin secretion and glutathione Stransferase (GST) expression were investigated as a function of the time in culture. The effect of triiodothyronine (T3) exposure on GST expression was also measured in pyruvate-treated cultures. Transmission electron microscopy showed that untreated hepatocytes deteriorated after culture for 7 days, whereas the morphology of the pyruvate-treated cells was similar to that observed in intact liver tissue. The albumin secretion rate was significantly higher in rat hepatocytes exposed to pyruvate than in control cells. In the presence of pyruvate, µ and α class GST activities were well maintained, whereas GST π activity was increased over the entire culture period. HPLC analysis revealed that the complement of GST subunits present in hepatocytes is altered during culture with pyruvate: µ class proteins remained relatively constant, whereas a decrease in the α class content was accompanied by a strong increase in GST subunit P1 (GSTP1). The induction of GSTP1 was confirmed at the mRNA level. In control cultures, π class GST activity was increased, but total, µ, and α class GST activities continuously declined as a function of culture time and became undetectable beyond 7 days in culture. At the protein and mRNA levels, a much smaller increase in GSTP1 was observed than in the pyruvate cultures. When the pyruvate-treated cell cultures were exposed to T3, an inhibitory effect on GST activities and proteins was found. These results indicate that this simple culture model could be useful for studying the expression and regulation of GST.