The goal of this study was to investigate postpreservation long-term function of cryopreserved primary rat hepatocytes using the hepatocyte/3T3-J2 fibroblast coculture system. The long-term function of thawed hepatocytes cocultured with fibroblasts was evaluated and compared with hepatocytes cultured without fibroblasts. Fresh isolated primary rat hepatocytes were frozen at a controlled rate (−1°C/min) up to −80°C, and then stored in liquid nitrogen for up to 90 days. Thawed hepatocytes were thereafter cocultured with 3T3-J2 murine fibroblasts and cocultivation was monitored for 14 days. The viability of fresh isolated hepatocytes was 91.4%, and that of cryopreserved hepatocytes was 82.1%. Cellular morphology and polarity, which were determined by the localization of actin filaments and connexin-32, were successfully maintained in cryopreserved hepatocytes following cryopreservation. Albumin and urea synthesis reached the maximum level and became stable after day 7 in coculture in both fresh and cryopreserved hepatocytes. Urea synthesis of cryopreserved hepatocytes was maintained 89.0% of nonfrozen fresh control, and albumin production of cryopreserved hepatocytes was 63.7% of control in coculture. Cytochrome P450 activity, which was measured by deethylation of ethoxyresorufin, was also maintained in cryopreserved hepatocytes at 88.6% of nonfrozen fresh control in coculture. The retention of synthetic and detoxification activities was verified to be well preserved during extended low-temperature storage (90 days). Both fresh control and cryopreserved hepatocytes cultured without fibroblast did not retain their synthetic and detoxification functions in long-term culture. These data illustrate that, through the utilization of our cryopreservation procedure, primary hepatocyte function was successfully maintained when placed into coculture configuration following thawing.
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Document Type: Review Article
Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston, MA 02114
Publication date: 2004-01-01
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