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Characterization of Long-Term Survival of Syngeneic Hepatocytes in Rat Peritoneum

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Hepatocyte transplantation is a potential therapy for both acute and chronic hepatic insufficiency and also for treatment of inborn errors of metabolism affecting the liver. The peritoneum is one site for implantation and has several advantages: cells implanted there can be easily identified and observed, and it has a relatively large capacity. Long-term survival using “pure” hepatocytes in the peritoneum have been disappointing. We hypothesized that cotransplantation of hepatocytes with nonparenchymal cells would help maintain differentiated hepatocyte function. Rat liver cells transplanted intraperitoneally into August rats were sacrificed at 7 days, 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months and analyzed for presence, basal proliferation, and functionality of hepatocytes. To demonstrate that ectopic hepatocytes remained susceptible to exogenous growth factors affecting cell proliferation, rats 9 and 12 months after transplantation were stimulated with tri-iodothyronine and KGF. Hepatocytes were identified 7 days to >12 months, by H&E and immunohistochemically, as ectopic islands in the omental fat. Functionality was confirmed by glycogen deposition. Basal proliferation in 7-day rats was 28.0 ± 10/1000 hepatocytes in ectopic islands (cf. 5.70 ± 2.7/1000 in recipient liver). Proliferation in ectopic islands was greater than host liver. Growth factor-stimulated proliferation in ectopic islands induced a 70-fold increase in DNA synthesis. In conclusion, hepatocytes transplanted with nonparenchymal cells survive, proliferate, and function in the peritoneum of normal rats, and respond to exogenous growth stimuli. Their survival and proliferation in the presence of a normal functioning liver has implications for the potential use of the peritoneal site clinically for supplementation of liver function in metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Hepatocytes; Intraperitoneal transplantation; KGF; Nonparenchymal cells; Proliferation; T3

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Liver Group, Department of Gastroenterology, Division of Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, London, W12 0NN, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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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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