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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tyrosine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase activity in human fetal hepatocyte primary cultures under proliferative conditions.

The ontogeny of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGTase; E.C. and tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT; E.C. activities in 14 to 36 weeks gestational and neonatal hepatocytes during development of human fetal liver was studied. Subsequently, 20-24 weeks gestational hepatocytes were cultured in media supplemented with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and insulin with or without glucagon and dexamethasone to investigate the proliferation and differentiation of fetal hepatocyte in vitro using GGTase and TAT as biochemical markers. During the development of the liver, the activity of GGTase increased continuously from the first trimester through the third trimester and decreased (p < 0.001) in neonates. A low basal level of TAT activity was seen only during the third trimester, which then increased significantly (p < 0.001) in neonates. Fetal hepatocytes, in the presence of EGF and insulin, undergo proliferation from the fourth to 10th day with an increase in cell number (p < 0.001) and concomitant increase (p < 0.001) in GGTase activity. As the cells attain confluence, enzyme activity decreased significantly (p < 0.001) from the 10th to 16th day. Maximal TAT activity (p < 0.001) was observed at 48 h of culture, which decreased, but not significantly, during cell proliferation and the enzyme activity was regained as the cultures attained confluence. Furthermore, TAT activity was induced synergistically (p<0.001) in the presence of glucagon and dexamethasone, while GGTase was inhibited (p<0.001). These results indicate that GGTase increases with proliferation, whereas TAT, once it has been expressed, is not suppressed during cell proliferation. In conclusion, human fetal hepatocytes undergo enzymic differentiation by 48 h of culture, and proliferate with an increase in GGTase in the presence of growth factors with maintenance of differentiated status up to the studied 16 days of culture.[1]


  1. Tyrosine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase activity in human fetal hepatocyte primary cultures under proliferative conditions. Rehman, K.K., Ayesha, Q., Khan, A.A., Ahmed, N., Habibullah, C.M. Cell Biochem. Funct. (2004) [Pubmed]
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