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Open Access Construction of Artificial Hepatic Lobule-Like Spheroids on a Three-Dimensional Culture Device

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One major purpose of cell culture is the reconstruction of physiological structures. Using bovine aortic epithelium cell line HH (JCRB0099) as feeder cells and rat primary hepatocytes, we constructed hepatic lobule-like spheroids on a cell array plate designed for three-dimensional (3D) culture. Microfabricated patterning of the cell array with poly(ethyleneglycol) brushes promotes the formation of spheroids at 100-μm diameter at 100-μm intervals. Our standard protocol is to seed with feeder HH cells and then seed with primary hepatic parenchymal cells. The composite cell spheroids thus obtained are called heterospheroids. Feeder cells that were attached to the plate migrated and encompassed the spheroidal hepatocyte mass. Electron microscopy revealed Disse space-like structures characterized by hepatocyte-rooted microvilli rooted between hepatocyte and feeder epithelial HH cells. Differentiated hepatic functions such as albumin synthesis and cytochrome P450 subfamily CYP3A activities were maintained for 28 days in the heterospheroid versus monospheroid and monolayer cultures. In addition, glucuronide conjugation activity was maintained at a high level in heterospheroids. These results indicate that structurally similar hepatic lobules were formed in a microfabricated cell array coculture system and that the culture conditions are beneficial for maintaining differentiated hepatic functions.
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Keywords: Artificial hepatic lobules; Hepatic function; Three-dimensional culture

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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