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Effect of Flow on the Detoxification Function of Rat Hepatocytes in a Bioartificial Liver Reactor

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Ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylation (EROD) can be used as a sensitive measure of hepatic detoxification function. In this study, we employed a fluorescence assay based on EROD to study the effect of varying Peclet number (or flow) on hepatic function in a microchannel flat-plate bioartificial liver (BAL) reactor containing a coculture of hepatocytes and fibroblasts. Static culture and reactor flow experiments established that: 1) a pseudo-steady-state detoxification rate could be attained at each Peclet number, 2) the steady-state detoxification rate increased nonlinearly with Peclet number (ranging from 167 to 2500), 3) the uptake rate of substrate was a linear function of cell surface substrate concentration (<1 μM), and 4) a shear stress of 10 dyne/cm2 did not adversely affect hepatic function for at least 12 h. A convection–diffusion–reaction model supports the conclusion that increased convective mass transfer of substrate to the cell surface is the primary cause of the observed increase in EROD rate with Peclet number. Our results suggest that detoxification rates can be enhanced by an order of magnitude by choosing an appropriate Peclet number. For our bioreactor configuration, this optimum corresponds to a Peclet number range of 1000–2000 at a Damkohler number of 0.55. The usefulness of the mathematical model is discussed in the context of scale-up to a clinical BAL reactor for human application.

Keywords: Key words: Bioartificial liver; Cytochrome P4501A1

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston, MA 02114

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles 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, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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