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Open Access Improved Hepatocyte Engraftment After Portal Vein Occlusion in LDL Receptor-Deficient WHHL Rabbits and Lentiviral-Mediated Phenotypic Correction In Vitro

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Abstract:

Innovative cell-based therapies are considered as alternatives to liver transplantation. Recent progress in lentivirus-mediated hepatocyte transduction has renewed interest in cell therapy for the treatment of inherited liver diseases. However, hepatocyte transplantation is still hampered by inefficient hepatocyte engraftment. We previously showed that partial portal vein embolization (PVE) improved hepatocyte engraftment in a nonhuman primate model. We developed here an ex vivo approach based on PVE and lentiviral-mediated transduction of hepatocytes from normal (New Zealand White, NZW) and Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbits: the large animal model of familial hypercholesterolemia type IIa (FH). FH is a life-threatening human inherited autosomal disease caused by a mutation in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene, which leads to severe hypercholesterolemia and premature coronary heart disease. Rabbit hepatocytes were isolated from the resected left liver lobe, and the portal branches of the median lobes were embolized with Histoacryl® glue under radiologic guidance. NZW and WHHL hepatocytes were each labeled with Hoechst dye or transduced with lentivirus expressing GFP under the control of a liver-specific promoter (mTTR, a modified murine transthyretin promoter) and were then immediately transplanted back into donor animals. In our conditions, 65‐70% of the NZW and WHHL hepatocytes were transduced. Liver repopulation after transplantation with the Hoechst-labeled hepatocytes was 3.5 ± 2%. It was 1.4 ± 0.6% after transplantation with either the transduced NZW hepatocytes or the transduced WHHL hepatocytes, which was close to that obtained with Hoechst-labeled cells, given the mean transduction efficacy. Transgene expression persisted for at least 8 weeks posttransplantation. Transduction of WHHL hepatocytes with an LDLR-encoding vector resulted in phenotypic correction in vitro as assessed by internalization of fluorescent LDL ligands. In conclusion, our results have applications for the treatment of inherited metabolic liver diseases, such as FH, by transplantation of lentivirally transduced hepatocytes.

Keywords: Familial hypercholesterolemia; Hepatocyte transplantation; Lentiviral vector; Liver; Portal vein embolization; Rabbit

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/215517912X647136

Publication date: February 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The importance of translating original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell therapy and its application to human diseases to society has led to the formation of the journal Cell Medicine. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, the same rigorous peer review will be applied to articles published in Cell Medicine. Articles may deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, and stem cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers may also be featured if they have a translational interest. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Medicine will report on relevant technological advances and their potential for translational medicine. Cell Medicine will be a purely online Open Access journal. There will therefore be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow your work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle you to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of your manuscript.
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