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Apoptotic Cell Death and Function of Cryopreserved Porcine Hepatocytes in a Bioartificial Liver

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We have previously shown that cryopreservation leads to increased apoptotic death of porcine hepatocytes intended for use in a bioartificial liver (BAL). This study was designed to determine if a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, IDN-1965, reduced apoptosis and increased function of cryopreserved porcine hepatocytes in static culture or in a BAL. Porcine hepatocytes were studied immediately after isolation and after 2 weeks of cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen using medium supplemented with 25 μmol/L IDN-1965 or vehicle. Both apoptotic and necrotic cells were observed in cultures of fresh and cryopreserved hepatocytes, but the percentage of apoptotic cells increased after cryopreservation. Cryopreservation in IDN-1965 improved hepatocyte viability and reduced apoptotic cell death determined by TUNEL assay. Cryopreservation of hepatocytes in IDN-1965 was also associated with reduced caspase 3-like activity, decreased release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, and a slower decline in mitochondrial membrane potential after thawing. These markers of apoptosis were lowest after cryopreservation when IDN-1965 was added to both the culture and cryopreservation medium. Functional markers of hepatocyte activity (albumin production, diazepam metabolism, urea production) were also increased after cryopreservation and culture of hepatocytes in medium supplemented with 25 μmol/L IDN-1965. Cryopreservation of porcine hepatocytes in the presence of caspase inhibitor IDN-1965 was associated with reduced apoptosis and improved function of porcine hepatocytes in both static culture and a perfused BAL. These data demonstrate that inhibition of apoptosis also preserves cell function.
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Keywords: Apoptosis; Bioartificial liver; Cryopreservation; Hepatocyte

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Division of Transplantation Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 2: †Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 3: ‡Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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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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