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ASAIO J. 1998 Sep-Oct;44(5):M441-4.

Effects of shear stress on metabolic function of the co-culture system of hepatocyte/nonparenchymal cells for a bioartificial liver.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba Science City, Japan.


To improve the culture conditions of hepatocytes for use as a bioartificial liver, the effects of shear flow on the co-culture system of hepatocytes/nonparenchymal cells (NPC) were investigated. A flow chamber with a collagen coated rectangular glass plate, where hepatocytes (5 x 10(4) cell/cm2) and NPC (2 x 10(5) cell/cm2) were seeded, was used to attain a shear stress of 4.7 dyne/cm2. Concentrations of ammonia and urea in the medium were measured daily during the 2 week experiment. The metabolic activity of hepatocytes in the homotypic culture were lower than those of the co-culture, especially when the cultivation time exceeded 1 week. In addition, the applied shear flow promoted activity of the co-culture system. An enhancement in the rates of ammonium removal and urea synthesis was obtained in the perfusion systems. Morphologic observation revealed that aggregates of hepatocytes formed abundantly in the perfusion system and hepatocytes developed a cuboid shape. This suggested that perfusion affected the function and morphology of hepatocytes in the co-culture system. Shear flow could induce cell-cell interactions and secretion of extracellular matrix through the activation of NPC.

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