Hep G2, a liver cell line derived from a human hepatoblastoma that is free of known hepatotropic viral agents, has been found to express a wide variety of liver-specific metabolic functions. Among these functions are those related to cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism. Confluent Hep G2 monolayers express normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors and continue to internalize and metabolize chylomicrons, very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), LDL, and high-density lipoproteins. In lipoprotein-free medium, apolipoproteins A-I, A-II, B, C, and E accumulate in the medium together with cholesterol, cholesteryl ester, triglyceride, and all the primary bile acids. The regulation of their synthesis and secretion is not fully known and their interrelationships have not been established. Because Hep G2 cells express these and other components of cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism, they are a microcosm for studying the central role of the liver.
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