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Cell Transplant. 2003;12(1):69-74.

Human hepatocyte isolation and relationship of cell viability to early graft function.

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Institute of Liver Studies, Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' School of Medicine, and King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, UK.


Hepatocyte transplantation is emerging as an additional modality of treatment for patients with acute liver failure or liver-based metabolic disorders. The procedure requires isolation of high-quality hepatocytes from unused donor livers. Hepatocytes were isolated from 20 donor livers (11 right lobes, 3 left lateral segments, 6 whole livers) using a collagenase perfusion technique. Cell viability (median 56%, range 13-95%) and yield (median 1.4 x 10(9) cells, range 2.0 x 10(6)-1.8 x 10(10) cells) varied according to the tissue available. Fatty livers rejected for transplantation gave lower cell viability (median 45%, range 25-59%). There was a significant correlation between age of donor (median 21 years, range 7-66 years) and viability of isolated hepatocytes in vitro (r = -0.683, p = 0.001). The 13 segments of livers were from reduced/split grafts used for clinical transplantation in 9 children and 4 adults. There was no significant correlation between in vitro cell viability and clinical parameters including intensive care stay, serum aspartate aminotransferase,and international normalized ratio (in the first 7 days), and allograft rejection or other early posttransplant complications, in patients transplanted with the corresponding tissue.

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