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J Biosci Bioeng. 2008 Sep;106(3):237-42. doi: 10.1263/jbb.106.237.

Micropatterned organoid culture of rat hepatocytes and HepG2 cells.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Processes and Environments, The University of Kitakyushu, 1-1 Hibikino, Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 808-0135, Japan.


The culture of liver cell organoids (multicellular aggregates) such as spheroids or cylindroids, which can strongly express liver functions, has been advocated as a useful technique that has advantages over monolayer culture. This paper describes a micropatterning technique for obtaining spheroids and cylindroids by using rat hepatocytes or HepG2 cells. We developed culture chips that comprised multiple, circular or rectangular microwells; the bottom surface of each microwell was modified with collagen to create a cell adhesion area, and the entire microwell, excluding the collagen-coated spots, was modified with polyethylene glycol (PEG) to create a nonadhesive area. Rat hepatocytes and HepG2 cells formed uniform spheroids and cylindroids on the circular and rectangular chips, respectively. Consequently, two-dimensional micropatterned chips containing homogeneous spheroids or cylindroids were generated. The expression of liver functions (protein secretion and ammonia removal) was greater in the spheroids and cylindroids than in the monolayer culture, and this expression was maintained for at least 2 weeks of culture. Thus, this chip technology has potential for use in various applications that involve organoid culture.

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