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Open Access Liver Cell Culture Devices

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In the last 15 years many different liver cell culture devices, consisting of functional liver cells and artificial materials, have been developed. They have been devised for numerous different applications, such as temporary organ replacement (a bridge to liver transplantation or native liver regeneration) and as in vitro screening systems in the early stages of the drug development process, like assessing hepatotoxicity, hepatic drug metabolism, and induction/inhibition studies. Relevant literature is summarized about artificial human liver cell culture systems by scrutinizing PubMed from 2003 to 2009. Existing devices are divided in 2D configurations (e.g., static monolayer, sandwich, perfused cells, and flat plate) and 3D configurations (e.g., liver slices, spheroids, and different types of bioreactors). The essential features of an ideal liver cell culture system are discussed: different types of scaffolds, oxygenation systems, extracellular matrixes (natural and artificial), cocultures with nonparenchymal cells, and the role of shear stress problems. Finally, miniaturization and high-throughput systems are discussed. All these factors contribute in their own way to the viability and functionality of liver cells in culture. Depending on the aim for which they are designed, several good systems are available for predicting hepatotoxicity and hepatic metabolism within the general population. To predict hepatotoxicity in individual cases genomic analysis might be essential as well.

Keywords: Bioreactor; Cell culture devices; Drug delivery; Human liver cells

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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