- This study examined various biochemical parameters such as mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), total heme and cyto P450 content in fresh hepatocytes and dedifferentiated hepatocytes. These parameters were chosen in order to understand the dramatic decrease in drug metabolism in cultured hepatocytes. The data in this study shows a temporal decrease in cytochrome P450, a total heme and also a decrease in mitochondria. Also, the ratio of mtDNA content to mitochondrial density was found to increase as hepatocytes underwent dedifferentiation. Stereological analysis of cell preparations provided a measure of mitochondrial density per cell area and mtDNA content was assessed by the use of a specific radiolabelled probe. This study demonstrates that a loss of the organelle which is partially responsible for synthesis of heme correlates with a decrease in cytochrome P450.