Application of image analysis on monolayer cultures of rat hepatocytes: assessment of a chemically inducible G0-G1 cell cycle phase shift.
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The phenobarbital induced shift from G0 to G1 cell cycle phases was analyzed in freshly isolated cultured rat hepatocytes by image analysis. Nuclei in situ in monolayers or in an isolated state were stained with quinacrine dihydrochloride. Fluorescence intensity and fluorescence area were recorded in controls and after treatment with phenobarbital (1.5 or 3 mM, 48 h). Reproducible measurements were obtained with the aid of an elaborate background correction and image enhancement procedure and by the construction of individual measuring masks for each nucleus. A complete statistical analysis revealed that in both preparations (isolated nuclei and monolayer cultures, treated and untreated), individual ploidy classes were distinguishable by fluorescence area measurements. Within each ploidy class, the area is modified by the cell density: with increasing cell density the area occupied by a single cell decreases. After phenobarbital treatment, a decrease in size, due to the higher cell density after the mitotic stimulus of the test compound and a decrease in total fluorescence, due to the G0-G1 cell cycle phase shift was recorded. In monolayer cultures, but not in isolated nuclei, two populations of nuclei were discernible suggesting two cell populations, one responding to treatment and one refractive.
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