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Open Access Cell Shape Regulation Based on Hepatocyte Sheet Engineering Technologies

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The de novo engineering of a uniform hepatocyte sheet in vitro is considered as a novel approach for liver-directed therapeutics. Hepatocytes can be cultured on a temperature-responsive culture dishes coated with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PIPAAm). Following multiple days of culturing, the hepatocytes can be easily harvested as a uniform sheet by decreasing temperature from 37°C to 20°C. By modifying the sheet harvesting protocol, we have noticed that two different forms of the hepatocyte sheets, “extended” and “shrinking,” were obtained. This study describes the methods for harvesting the two different forms of sheets, and their cellular structure and hepatocyte-specific functions. To obtain an “extended sheet” form, a cluster of hepatocytes covered with a support membrane was harvested by the temperature reduction. For the “shrinking sheet” form, the hepatocyte sheet was floated after reducing the culture temperature, and the floating process allowed the sheet to shrink spontaneously. Histological analysis revealed that the hepatocytes in the extended sheet form were predominantly flat, whereas the shrinking sheet contained cuboidal shaped hepatocytes. The preservation of hepatocyte-specific ultrastructures was confirmed in both types of sheets. To investigate hepatocyte-specific functionality, the harvested hepatocyte sheets were recultured on Matrigel-coated dishes. Assessment of protein production levels and chemical metabolizing activities showed the similar functionalities for each form. In contrast, the recalculation of these values per sheet versus per square centimeter of sheet surface demonstrated that the function of the shrinking sheet was significantly higher than that of the extended sheets. This study demonstrated that the hepatocyte sheets created on the PIPAAm dish could spontaneously shrink in size, but retain their hepatocyte functionality. This type of hepatocyte sheet could be utilized for the engineering of liver tissue in limited areas that are unable to give adequate transplant space.

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Keywords: Bioartificial liver; Cell sheet; Culture system; Hepatocytes; Tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Advanced Biomedical Engineering and Science, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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