Hepatocytes undergo marked changes in proliferation during normal liver development. In order to elucidate the mechanism for these changes, we examined the ontogeny of expression for the known cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CKIs), p15(Ink4b), p16(Ink4a), p18(Ink4c), p19(Ink4d), p21(Cip1), p27(Kip1) and p57(Kip2). All except p16(Ink4a) were expressed at some time between late gestation and adulthood. The mRNA and protein expression patterns for p15(Ink4b) and p57(Kip2) were consistent with a role for these CKIs in the regulation of hepatocyte proliferation. Specifically, p57(Kip2) may contribute to hepatocyte growth arrest that occurs in term fetuses, while p15(Ink4b) may contribute to the maintenance of adult hepatocytes in a quiescent state. These results assign a possible role to two CKIs not previously identified as involved in hepatocyte cell cycle control.
- Cell cycle