(579e) A New Technique for Primary Hepatocyte Proliferation in Vitro | AIChE

(579e) A New Technique for Primary Hepatocyte Proliferation in Vitro


Cho, C. H. - Presenter, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Berthiaume, F. - Presenter, Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School 51 Blossom Street
Tilles, A. W. - Presenter, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Yarmush, M. L. - Presenter, Center for Engineering in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Shriners Hospital for Children

The current application for many potential cell-based treatments for liver failure is limited by the low availability of mature functional hepatocytes. Although adult hepatocytes have a remarkable ability to proliferate in vivo, attempts to proliferate adult hepatocytes in vitro have been less successful. In this study, we investigated the effect of coculture cell type on the proliferative response and the functional activities of hepatocytes. We show, for the first time, a robust proliferative response of primary adult rat hepatocytes when cocultured with mouse 3T3-J2 fibroblasts. Hepatocytes cultured at low density on growth-arrested 3T3-J2 fibroblast feeder layers underwent significantly higher proliferation rates than when cultured on feeder layers made of four other cell types. Increasing colony size correlated with an increase in hepatocellular functions. The proliferating hepatocytes retained their morphologic, phenotypic, and functional characteristics. To better understand the role of heterotypic cell-cell interactions on hepatocyte proliferation in cocultures, a cell patterning technique was used. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) stencils with different circular hole sizes (300 or 1,000 μm in diameter) were made by the procedure modified from our previous report [1]. Using a cell patterning technique, we found that 3T3-J2 fibroblasts stimulate DNA synthesis in hepatocytes by short-range heterotypic cell-cell interactions. When hepatocytes that proliferated in cocultures were harvested and further subcultured either on 3T3-J2 fibroblast feeders or in the collagen sandwich configuration, their behavior was similar to that of freshly isolated hepatocytes. We conclude that adult rat hepatocytes can proliferate in vitro in a coculture cell type-dependent manner, and can be serially propagated by coculturing with 3T3-J2 fibroblasts while maintaining their differentiated characteristics. Our results also suggest that one of the major reasons for the functional differences in hepatocyte cocultures may be due to the different proliferative responses of hepatocytes as a function of coculture cell type. This study provides new insights in the roles of coculture cell types and cell-cell interactions in the modulation of hepatic proliferation and function.


[1] Jae-Sung Park, Cheul H. Cho, Natesh Parashurama, Yawen Li, François Berthiaume, Arno Tilles, Mehmet Toner, Martin Yarmush, "Microfabrication-based Modulation of Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation", Lab on a Chip, 2007 (7): 1018-1028