The proliferating AR42J-B13 pancreatic cell line is known to respond to glucocorticoid treatment by producing foci of cells that express the liver-specific albumin gene. We demonstrate that this cell line also expresses liver-specific or liver-enriched functional cytochrome P450 proteins when stimulated to trans-differentiate into hepatocytes by glucocorticoid. These data suggest that this cell line has an unusual ability to trans-differentiate into functional hepatocytes and that it could be possible to generate a limitless supply of functional hepatocyte-like cells in vitro.

Abbreviations used: ADD, androstenedione; B-13, AR42J-B13 cell line grown under normal conditions; B-13/H, AR42J-B13 cells after treatment with dexamethasone; CYP, cytochrome P450—the cytochrome P450 nomenclature used is that outlined by Nelson et al. [8]; FCS, foetal calf serum; MET, metyrapone; β-NF, β-naphthoflavone; PB, phenobarbitone; PCN, pregnenolone 16α-carbonitrile; RT, reverse transcriptase; T-2α-OH (etc.), 2α-hydroxytestosterone (etc.).

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