A rat hepatoma cell line was established from primary culture using RPMI 1640 without supplements. Hepatomas were induced in rats by 0.06% 3′-methyl-4-dimethylaminoazobenzene. An established cell line, FF101, has been maintained as a monolayer for longer than 34 months and subcultured for 42 passages. The population-doubling time was 78 h. The modal chromosome number was 66. FF101 was transplantable, and morphological examination of the transplanted tumors revealed a mixed type of hepatocellular and cholangiocellular carcinoma. FF101 retained the ability to express tyrosine aminotransferase and glucose-6-phosphatase. Also, FF101 synthesized α-fetoprotein. FF101-conditioned medium stimulated DNA synthesis and proliferation of several cell lines such as AH66, K562, and BALB/c3T3. The growth-promoting activity of FF101-conditioned medium was abolished by protease, dithiothreitol, acidic treatment, and heating. Gel filtration of conditioned medium on SephacrylS-200 disclosed the growth-promoting activity at the molecular size of approximately 60,000 Da, and the isoelectric point (pI) was between 5.5 and 6.5. These results suggest that FF101 synthesizes a novel growth factor which has little specificity in both species and organs.
This work was partially supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research C-62570318 from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture.