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The Effects of Cryopreservation on Human Hepatocytes Obtained From Different Sources of Liver Tissue

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Successful cryopreservation of human hepatocytes is important to establish hepatocyte banks for clinical use or in vitro research. The availability of donor tissue from unused liver segments/ lobes and non-heart-beating donors (NHBD) has provided newer sources of hepatocytes. The quality of hepatocytes at the time of cryopreservation is important as cells isolated from liver tissue of borderline quality may not withstand the stresses associated with cryopreservation and subsequent thawing. Human hepatocytes were cryopreserved after isolation from mainly donor tissues (n = 40). In vitro assessment of the viability and function of the fresh and thawed cryopreserved hepatocytes was performed. Viability, attachment efficiency, enzyme activity, and albumin production of hepatocytes were all significantly decreased, and LDH leakage significantly increased, on thawing after cryopreservation. The viability of cryopreserved hepatocytes isolated from tissue rejected for orthotopic liver transplantation (36 ± 15%) was significantly lower than those isolated from tissue where part was used for liver transplantation (47 ± 14%, p = 0.002), but there were no significant differences in functional parameters. The viability of cryopreserved hepatocytes isolated from NHBD tissue (29 ± 9%, p = 0.001) and from steatotic donor tissue (35 ± 11%, p = 0.019) was significantly lower than those isolated from normal donor tissue (49 ± 14%). There was no difference in functional parameters, except for albumin production of hepatocytes from NHBD tissue (2.9 ± 1.0 g/h/mg protein) being significantly lower than those from normal donor tissue (4.8 ± 2.8 g/h/mg protein, p = 0.03). The viability and attachment efficiency of cryopreserved hepatocytes isolated from liver tissue from resections for tumors was significantly higher, and the LDH leakage significantly lower, than those isolated from all donor tissue. Hepatocytes isolated from NHBD and steatotic tissue were more vulnerable to the effects of cryopreservation. Further research is required to improve hepatocyte isolation and cryopreservation protocols for different types of liver tissue.

Keywords: Cryopreservation; Donor tissue; Hepatocytes; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Liver Studies, King's College London School of Medicine at King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SE5 9RS, UK

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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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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