Autophagy in hepatocytes and erythropoietic cells isolated from the twenty-one day old rat embryo

A. L. Kovács, A. Eldib, A. Telbisz

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Liver cells of the twenty-one day old rat embryo are isolated by a modified method and autophagy is studied in them by electron microscopic morphology and morphometry. Immediately after isolation or 2.5 h incubation in nutrient-free medium, embryonic hepatocytes contain high amount of glycogen and only very few autophagic vacuoles. In contrast, all glycogen is lost and 15% of the cytoplasmic volume is occupied by late autophagic vacuoles in hepatocytes after 18 h in the same medium. Presence of 3-methyladenine in the latter case inhibits both the loss of glycogen and the appearance of autophagic vacuoles while enlarging the multivesicular body compartment. Our findings reveal major differences between isolated embryonic and adult hepatocytes concerning autophagy. Several types of autophagic vacuoles are described in the cell types of the erythropoietic cell lineage. This means that autophagy is an integral part of erythropoiesis not only in bone marrow, but also in embryonic liver that is investigated here for the first time from this point of view. The presence of unclosed isolation membranes and the predominance of early autophagic vacuoles in reticulocytes indicates that the molecular machinery of segregation is still active in this functionally and structurally highly reduced cell type.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-433
Number of pages17
JournalActa biologica Hungarica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2001



  • 3-Methyladenine
  • Glycogen
  • Multivesicular body
  • Reticulocyte
  • Segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Neurology

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