Cytochrome P450 in Primary and Permanent Liver Cell Cultures

  • L. R. Schwarz
  • F. J. Wiebel
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 105)


Liver cell cultures are of great interest in pharmacological and toxicological research (Schwarz and Greim 1981; Guillouzo 1988). They are ideal instruments for analyzing the metabolism of xenobiotics or the regulation of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes. The initial high expectations regarding this in vitro system were soon greatly reduced by the finding that hepatocytes, when isolated and kept in culture, rapidly lost cytochrome P450 activities along with other liver-specific functions (Guzelian et al. 1977; Schwarz et al. 1979; Sirica and Pitot 1980). Equally disappointing were the observations that permanent, “immortalized,” cell lines derived from liver possessed none, or only a few, of the properties of adult liver. Considering the potential usefulness of metabolically competent liver cell cultures, intensive efforts were made to establish culture conditions that would help maintaining cytochrome P450 activities in this cell system. Likewise, many attempts were made to find or develop permanent liver cell lines that mimic, at least in some respects, adult hepatocytes. The following reviews the progress which has been made during the last decade. For most of the older reports the reader is referred to earlier reviews (Fry and Bridges 1977; Sirica and Pitot 1980; Schwarz and Greim 1981).


Liver Cell Culture Primary Hepatocyte Culture Cytochrome P450 Activity Cytochrome P450 Isozyme Primary Monolayer Culture 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

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  • L. R. Schwarz
  • F. J. Wiebel

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