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J Hepatol. 1988 Aug;7(1):34-44.

Primary culture of cryopreserved adult human hepatocytes on homologous extracellular matrix and the influence of monocytic products on albumin synthesis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University Hospital of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Cultured human hepatocytes provide a useful method for studies of specific metabolic functions, such as plasma protein synthesis or drug metabolism in man and specific interaction of microorganisms with the human liver cell. In vitro studies using human hepatocytes are seriously hampered by the limited availability of viable tissue and the lack of suitable methods for preservation of hepatocytes. In addition, normal adult human hepatocytes, under classical culture conditions, do not proliferate in vitro. Recently, we have reported a method for long-term storage of human hepatocytes, using a cryopreservation technique. However, after thawing, the efficiency of cell seeding onto tissue culture plastic and, accordingly, the survival of hepatocytes in primary cultures were decreased as compared to freshly prepared and cultured hepatocytes. In the present study, we report the effects of extracellular matrix (ECM) obtained from normal liver of kidney donors on the attachment efficiency, survival, some metabolic functions and fine structure of human hepatocytes. It was found that the deleterious effect of deep-freeze storage on attachment efficiency and survival of hepatocytes could be significantly reduced by using tissue culture plastic precoated with human liver ECM. Hepatocytes survived for more than 4-6 weeks, without evidence of fibroblast overgrowth. Using this in vitro experimental system, we have also shown that these hepatocytes synthesize several liver-specific acute phase proteins, and monocytic products were able to decrease the hepatocytic synthesis of albumin while total protein synthesis remained unchanged. These results support our previous observations in cultured rodent hepatocytes, indicating the important role of monocytic products in the regulation of liver synthesis of albumin in inflammatory diseases in man.

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