The development of hepatocyte polyploidy in rats aged up to 4 months was analyzed by flow cytometry using both scatter and fluorescent parameters to distinguish DNA diploid and DNA tetraploid populations and to discriminate between parenchymal and non-parenchymal compartments. The precise origin of each class of nuclei was assessed in whole liver homogenate using purified hepatocytes, obtained by liver perfusion followed by separation on Percoll gradient, and identifying the peaks corresponding to parenchymal nuclei. The results indicate that preparative procedures involving homogenization of the rat liver tissue caused loss of the DNA octaploid population. Data on the relative proportion of the different DNA ploidy elements during rat liver development, which are in good agreement with those observed by cell analysis by means of microspectrophotometry, indicate the usefulness of flow cytometry as a choice method for the analysis of ploidy distribution.
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