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Cryobiology. 2006 Oct;53(2):149-59. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Cryopreservation of isolated human hepatocytes for transplantation: State of the art.

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King's College London School of Medicine at King's College Hospital, Institute of Liver Studies, Bessemer Road, London SE5 9PJ, UK.


Hepatocytes isolated from unused donor livers are being used for transplantation in patients with acute liver failure and liver-based metabolic defects. As large numbers of hepatocytes can be prepared from a single liver and hepatocytes need to be available for emergency and repeated treatment of patients it is essential to be able to cryopreserve and store cells with good thawed cell function. This review considers the current status of cryopreservation of human hepatocytes discussing the different stages involved in the process. These include pre-treatment of cells, freezing solution, cryoprotectants and freezing and thawing protocols. There are detrimental effects of cryopreservation on hepatocyte structure and metabolic function, including cell attachment, which is important to the engraftment of transplanted cells in the liver. Cryopreserved human hepatocytes have been successfully used in clinical transplantation, with evidence of replacement of missing function. Further optimisation of hepatocyte cryopreservation protocols is important for their use in hepatocyte transplantation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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