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Cell Transplant. 2001;10(7):609-14.

Effect of flow on the detoxification function of rat hepatocytes in a bioartificial liver reactor.

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  • 1Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgical Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylation (EROD) can be used as a sensitive measure of hepatic detoxification function. In this study, we employed a fluorescence assay based on EROD to study the effect of varying Peclet number (or flow) on hepatic function in a microchannel flat-plate bioartificial liver (BAL) reactor containing a coculture of hepatocytes and fibroblasts. Static culture and reactor flow experiments established that: 1) a pseudo-steady-state detoxification rate could be attained at each Peclet number, 2) the steady-state detoxification rate increased nonlinearly with Peclet number (ranging from 167 to 2500), 3) the uptake rate of substrate was a linear function of cell surface substrate concentration (<1 microM), and 4) a shear stress of 10 dyne/cm2 did not adversely affect hepatic function for at least 12 h. A convection-diffusion-reaction model supports the conclusion that increased convective mass transfer of substrate to the cell surface is the primary cause of the observed increase in EROD rate with Peclet number. Our results suggest that detoxification rates can be enhanced by an order of magnitude by choosing an appropriate Peclet number. For our bioreactor configuration, this optimum corresponds to a Peclet number range of 1000-2000 at a Damkohler number of 0.55. The usefulness of the mathematical model is discussed in the context of scale-up to a clinical BAL reactor for human application.

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