Open Access N-Acetylcysteine Improves the Viability of Human Hepatocytes Isolated From Severely Steatotic Donor Liver Tissue

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Hepatocyte transplantation is dependent on the availability of good quality human hepatocytes isolated from donor liver tissue. Hepatocytes obtained from livers rejected for transplantation on the grounds of steatosis are often of low viability and not suitable for clinical use. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on the function of hepatocytes isolated from steatotic donor livers. Human hepatocytes were isolated from 10 severely steatotic (>60%) donor livers rejected for transplantation. The left lateral segment of the donor liver was dissected into two equal size pieces and randomized to NAC or control. NAC (5 mM) was added to the first perfusion buffer of the standard collagenase digestion technique. Cells from tissues perfused with NAC had a significantly higher mean viability (81.1 ± 1.7% vs. 66.0 ± 4.7%; p = 0.003) and cell attachment (1.08 ± 0.26 vs. 0.67 ± 0.18 OD units; p = 0.012). Addition of NAC during isolation of human hepatocytes from steatotic donor liver tissue significantly improved the outcome of cell isolation. Further studies are needed to investigate the mechanism(s) of this effect. Incorporation of NAC in the hepatocyte isolation protocol could increase the availability of hepatocytes for transplantation.

Keywords: Donor liver; Hepatocyte transplantation; N-Acetylcysteine; Steatosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Liver Studies, King’s College London School of Medicine at King’s College Hospital, London, UK

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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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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