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Open Access Serum-Free Medium and Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Enhance Functionality and Stabilize Integrity of Rat Hepatocyte Spheroids

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Abstract:

Long-term culture of hepatocyte spheroids with high ammonia clearance is valuable for therapeutic applications, especially the bioartificial liver. However, the optimal conditions are not well studied. We hypothesized that liver urea cycle enzymes can be induced by high protein diet and maintain on a higher expression level in rat hepatocyte spheroids by serum-free medium (SFM) culture and coculture with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). Rats were feed normal protein diet (NPD) or high protein diet (HPD) for 7 days before liver digestion and isolation of hepatocytes. Hepatocyte spheroids were formed and maintained in a rocked suspension culture with or without MSCs in SFM or 10% serum-containing medium (SCM). Spheroid viability, kinetics of spheroid formation, hepatic functions, gene expression, and biochemical activities of rat hepatocyte spheroids were tested over 14 days of culture. We observed that urea cycle enzymes of hepatocyte spheroids can be induced by high protein diet. SFM and MSCs enhanced ammonia clearance and ureagenesis and stabilized integrity of hepatocyte spheroids compared to control conditions over 14 days. Hepatocytes from high protein diet-fed rats formed spheroids and maintained a high level of ammonia detoxification for over 14 days in a novel SFM. Hepatic functionality and spheroid integrity were further stabilized by coculture of hepatocytes with MSCs in the spheroid microenvironment. These findings have direct application to development of the spheroid reservoir bioartificial liver.

Keywords: Bioartificial liver; Hepatocyte; Medium; Spheroid; Ureagenesis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/096368912X656054

Affiliations: Department of Pathology, West China Hospital, Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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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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