Journal of Medical Primatology
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Background: The objective of this study was to develop a cell culture system for fetal baboon hepatocytes and to test the hypotheses that (i) expression of the gluconeogenic enzyme phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-1 (PEPCK-1) is upregulated in hepatocytes isolated from fetuses of nutrient-restricted mothers (MNR) compared with ad libitum-fed controls (CTR), and (ii) glucocorticoids stimulate PEPCK-1 expression. Methods: Hepatocytes from 0.9G CTR and MNR fetuses were isolated and cultured. PEPCK-1 protein and mRNA levels in hepatocytes were determined by Western blot and quantitative PCR, respectively. Results: Fetuses of MNR mothers were intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR). Feasibility of culturing 0.9G fetal baboon hepatocytes was demonstrated. PEPCK-1 protein levels were increased in hepatocytes isolated from IUGR fetuses, and PEPCK-1 mRNA expression was stimulated by glucocorticoids in fetal hepatocytes. Conclusions: Cultured fetal baboon hepatocytes that retain their in vivo phenotype provide powerful in vitro tools to investigate mechanisms that regulate normal and programmed hepatic function. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.