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The effect of surface roughness of microporous membranes on the kinetics of oxygen consumption and ammonia elimination by adherent hepatocytes

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In membrane hybrid liver support devices (HLSDs) using isolated hepatocytes where oxygen is transported only by diffusion to the cells, about 15-40% of the cell mass is likely to be in direct contact with the semipermeable membranes used as immunoselective barriers: quantitative effects of membrane surface properties on the kinetics of hepatocyte metabolic reactions may also affect HLSD performance. In this paper, we report our investigation of the effects of surface morphology of two microporous commercial membranes on the kinetics of oxygen consumption and ammonia elimination by primary hepatocytes in adhesion culture. Isolated rat hepatocytes were cultured on polypropylene microporous membranes with different surface roughness and pore size in a continuous-flow bioreactor whose fluid dynamics was optimized for the kinetic characterization of liver cell metabolic reactions. Collagencoatcd membranes were used as the reference substratum. Hepatocyte adhesion was not significantly affected by membrane surface morphology. The rates of the investigated reactions increased with ammonia concentration according to saturation kinetics: the values of kinetic parameters Vmax and KM increased as cells were cultured on the membrane with the greatest membrane surface roughness and pore size. For the reaction of oxygen consumption, Vmax increased from 0.066 to 0.1 pmol h-1 per cell as surface roughness increased from 70 to 370 nm. For the kinetics of ammonia elimination, KM increased from 0.23 to 0.32 mM and Vmax increased from 1.49 to 1.79 pmol h-1 per cell with membrane surface roughness increasing from 70 to 370 nm. Cells cultured on collagen-coated membranes consistently yielded the highest reaction rates. The Vmax values of 0.18 and 2.84 pmol h-1 per cell for oxygen consumption and ammonia elimination, respectively, suggest that cell functions are also affected by the chemical nature of the substratum.
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Keywords: Membrane; hepatocytes; hybrid liver support device; kinetics; roughness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Institute on Membranes and Modelling of Chemicall Reactors, CNR at the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. University of Calabria. 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy 2: Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Calabria. 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS), Italy 3: Department of Materials Engineering, of University of Trento, Via Mesiano 77, 38050 Trento, Italy

Publication date: 1999-01-01

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