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Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 7;5:13079. doi: 10.1038/srep13079.

Decellularized human liver as a natural 3D-scaffold for liver bioengineering and transplantation.

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UCL, Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, University College London, London UK.
Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Section, Developmental Biology and Cancer Programme, UCL Institute for Child Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital. University College London, London UK.
Department of Cellular Pathology, UCL Medical School, Royal Free Campus, London UK.
Division of Surgery, Royal Free London Foundation Trust. University College London, London UK.


Liver synthetic and metabolic function can only be optimised by the growth of cells within a supportive liver matrix. This can be achieved by the utilisation of decellularised human liver tissue. Here we demonstrate complete decellularization of whole human liver and lobes to form an extracellular matrix scaffold with a preserved architecture. Decellularized human liver cubic scaffolds were repopulated for up to 21 days using human cell lines hepatic stellate cells (LX2), hepatocellular carcinoma (Sk-Hep-1) and hepatoblastoma (HepG2), with excellent viability, motility and proliferation and remodelling of the extracellular matrix. Biocompatibility was demonstrated by either omental or subcutaneous xenotransplantation of liver scaffold cubes (5 × 5 × 5 mm) into immune competent mice resulting in absent foreign body responses. We demonstrate decellularization of human liver and repopulation with derived human liver cells. This is a key advance in bioartificial liver development.

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