Cell survival, cell morphology, rate of protein synthesis, and recovery of protein synthesis have been investigated in two continuously growing rat hepatoma cell lines, namely, Reuber H35 and HTC, and rat hepatocytes in primary culture after exposure at temperatures between 37 and 44°. H35 and HTC cells heated under identical culture conditions and at similar cell densities showed a remarkable difference in thermal sensitivity. For the continuously growing cell lines, the thermosensitivity of survival is reflected by thermally induced morphological alterations and the rate of recovery of protein synthesis but not by the thermally induced initial changes in protein synthesis. With the use of time-lapse cinematography, application of morphological criteria, and determination of the recovery of protein synthesis, the relative heat sensitivity of hepatocytes was evaluated as less than that of H35 cells but comparable to that of HTC cells. Therefore, it appears that hepatoma cell lines originating from the same tissue possess different heat sensitivities.

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This investigation was supported by the Koningin Wilhelmina Fonds (Netherlands Cancer Foundation).

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