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Open Access Wheat Proteins Enhance Stability and Function of Adhesion Molecules in Cryopreserved Hepatocytes

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Cryopreserved hepatocytes with good hepatospecific functions upon thawing are important for clinical transplantation and for in vitro drug toxicity testing. However, cryopreservation reduces viability and certain hepatospecific functions, but the most pronounced change is diminished attachment efficiency of hepatocytes. Adhesion of cells to the extracellular matrix and cell‐cell contacts are crucial for many aspects of cellular function. These processes are partly mediated and controlled by cellular adhesion molecules. The mechanisms responsible for reduced attachment efficiency of cryopreserved hepatocytes are not well understood. To address this question, we investigated the effect of a new cryopreservation procedure, using wheat proteins (WPs) or mixtures of recombinant forms of wheat freezing tolerance-associated proteins, on the stability of three important adhesion molecules (1-integrin, E-cadherin, and -catenin). Immunoblot analyses revealed that the levels of 1-integrin, E-cadherin, and -catenin were much lower in cryopreserved rat hepatocytes, when compared to fresh cells. Protein expression of the adhesion molecules was generally lower in cells cryopreserved with DMSO, compared to WPs. Moreover, the stability of the adhesion molecules was not affected by cryopreservation to the same degree, with more pronounced decreases occurring for 1-integrin (62‐74%) > -catenin (51‐58%) > E-cadherin (21‐37%). However, when hepatocytes were cryopreserved with partially purified WPs (SulWPE, AcWPE) or with mixtures of recombinant wheat proteins, there was a clear protective effect against the loss of protein expression of 1-integrin, E-cadherin, and -catenin. Protein expression was only 10‐20% lower than that observed in fresh hepatocytes. These findings clearly demonstrate that WPs, and more particularly, partially purified WPs and recombinant wheat proteins, were more efficient for cryopreservation of rat hepatocytes by maintaining good expression of these adhesion molecules. These promising results could lead to a new and improved cryopreservation technology for applications such as clinical transplantation of hepatocytes.

Keywords: Cryopreservation; E-cadherin; Hepatocytes; Wheat proteins; -Catenin; 1-Integrin

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-01-01

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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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