Under a copper-deficient regimen, pancreatic cells in the adult rat can be found to undergo differentiation into hepatocytes. Pancreatic hepatocytes induced in male and female rats were examined for the expression of the androgen-inducible hepatic protein, alpha 2u-globulin. Alpha 2u-Globulin protein was demonstrable by immunoperoxidase method in all the pancreatic hepatocytes of male rats. Northern blot analysis confirmed the presence of 1.3 kb alpha 2u-globulin mRNA transcript in the pancreas of male rats with hepatocytes. Orchiectomy resulted in marked decrease of alpha 2u-globulin protein and its mRNA. Administration of dihydrotestosterone to castrated rats resulted in increased levels of alpha 2u-globulin mRNA and the amount of alpha 2u-globulin protein in the pancreatic hepatocytes. Unlike normal males, in intact and ovariectomized females alpha 2u-globulin was not detectable in pancreatic hepatocytes. These results indicate that similar to hepatic parenchymal cells pancreatic hepatocytes synthesize alpha 2u-globulin under androgenic regulation. Furthermore, unlike in liver where it is expressed predominantly in perivenular and midlobular hepatocytes, there is no localized difference in the expression of this gene in the transdifferentiated pancreatic hepatocytes.

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