Hepatoblast Markers







alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP)


C/EBP alpha

  • started to be expressed in endodermal cells of 9.5-day liver primordium, and continued to be expressed in hepatoblasts and hepatocytes throughout development. PMID: 15519652

Cytokeratin 14

  • protein marker expressed by the embryonic liver diverticulum, indicating that HBC-3 cells retain an undifferentiated hepatoblast phenotype. PMID: 9033273

Cytokeratin 8 and 18

  • CD34+CK7/8+ cells are not common stem cells but rather appear to be hepatic stellate cells. PMID: 14739097

  • CK 8 is associated with the external cell surface of hepatocytes where it may express important proteinase receptor function. PMID: 7542667

  • cytokeratin 18 may play a role as a membrane reservoir in the event of transport and secretion of bile pigments in the liver. PMID: 10206734

  • CK18 is found on the extracellular surface of hepatocytes and could play a role in thrombin-antithrombin (TAT) removal. PMID: 9353322


  • Dlk+ cells are hepatoblasts and that Dlk is a useful marker to enrich highly proliferative hepatoblasts from fetal liver. PMID: 12665558


  • exclusively expressed on the cell membrane of hepatoblasts. PMID: 12243758


  • is critical for hepatoblast precursor cells to differentiate toward biliary epithelial cell lineage. PMID: 15531365


  • specifically stained hepatoblasts and no other cell type examined. PMID: 15625127


GGT (gamma-Glutamyl transpeptidase)

  • a major enzyme of glutathione (GSH) homeostasis, is often used as a biliary marker to follow the differentiation of hepatic precursor cells. PMID: 10934156


  • Hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF) 4alpha regulates the expression of many genes preferentially in the liver. PMID: 12774017

  • maternal HNF4 is abundantly present in Xenopus embryos but the target gene HNF1alpha is only marginally expressed. PMID: 11073969

  • HNF4alpha is expressed in liver and kidney, HNF4beta is expressed in addition in stomach, intestine, lung, ovary, and testis. Both factors are maternal proteins and present at constant levels throughout embryogenesis. PMID: 9001222


  • a negative regulator of helix-loop-helix transcription factors, is an important regulator of hepatoblast proliferation in the developing chick liver, and expressed in hepatoblasts at early developmental stages (stages 12-29) but not in hepatocytes at later developmental stages (stage 34 onwards). PMID: 16793241

Liv2 (Liv-2)


  • expressed in early embryonic hepatoblasts and is still expressed in adult hepatocytes. Prox1 protein is located in the nuclei of hepatoblasts, which grow into the neighboring embryonic mesenchyme. PMID: 15232737


  • play a crucial role in hepatoblast proliferation and survival in a manner apparently different from NF-kappaB or c-Jun. PMID: 12376107


  • preferentially expressed in hepatoblasts undergoing bile duct morphogenesis in the fetal liver. PMID: 16412614