Microstructured scaffolds for liver tissue cultures of high cell density: morphological and biochemical characterization of tissue aggregates

  • chair:

    Eschbach, E. / Chatterjee, S.S. / Nöldner, M. / Gottwald, E. / Dertinger, H. / Weibezahn, K.F. / Knedlitschek, G. (2005) 

  • place:

    J Cell Biochem, 2005, 15, 95, (2), 243-55 

  • Date: Mai 2005


Very high cell densities and optimal vascularization characterize among others organs and tissues in vivo. In order to study organ-specific functions in vitro or to make use of them in medical devices/treatments in the future, this natural architecture should be rebuilt. An important aspect in this context is the appropriate ratio of medium to cell volume being so far not optimally reestablished in most of the currently available in vitro systems. To improve such culture conditions, we constructed a microstructure to culture hepatocytes and (without any addition of extracellular matrix material) characterized liver tissue in the form of evenly sized aggregates. The liver-specific differentiation status of such aggregates was monitored by their ability to perform CYP450 dependent xenobiotic metabolism along with the measurement of albumin secretion. Freshly isolated adult rat hepatocytes show an initial loss of total CYP450 content and of associated activities (mixed function oxidases). However, in the aggregate system, this level did not decrease further but remained stable or even increased throughout the culture period of 10-13 days. The CYP450 dependent metabolism of the hepatocytes is able to respond to classic inducing agents. The described culture efficiently supports liver-specific functions of adult rat hepatocytes and seems to be suited not only for use in an extracorporeal liver device but also for the formation of evenly sized small aggregates to be of use in transplantation of differentiated liver tissue. Moreover, after design variations, the microstructure can be applied for functional analysis of metabolically active hepatocytes as well as for toxicological and pharmacological validation.