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Cell Biol Toxicol. 1997 Jul;13(4-5):357-64.

Characterization of the three-compartment gel-entrapment porcine hepatocyte bioartificial liver.

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Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.


A hybrid bioartificial liver device supporting a large mass of cells expressing differentiated hepatocyte metabolic capabilities is necessary for the successful treatment of fulminant hepatic failure. The three-compartment gel-entrapment porcine hepatocyte bioartificial liver was designed to provide "bridge" support to transplantation or until native liver recovery is achieved for patients with acute liver failure. The device is an automated mammalian cell culture system supporting 6-7 x 10(9) porcine hepatocytes entrapped in a collagen matrix and inoculated into the capillary lumen spaces of two 100 kDa molecular mass cut-off hollow fiber bioreactors. Gel contraction recreates a small lumen space within the hollow fiber which allows for the delivery of a nutrient medium. This configuration supported hepatocyte viability and differentiated phenotype as measured by albumin synthesis, ureagenesis, oxygen consumption, and vital dye staining during both cell culture and ex vivo application. The hollow fiber membrane was also shown to isolate the cells from xenogenic immunoglobulin attack. The gel-entrapment bioartificial liver maintained a large mass of functional hepatocytes by providing a three-dimensional cell culture matrix, by delivering basal nutrients through lumen media perfusion, and by preventing rejection of the xenocytes. These features make this device a favorable candidate for the treatment of clinical fulminant hepatic failure.

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