Author(s): Schmelzer E, Mutig K, Schrade P, Bachmann S, Gerlach JC,
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Abstract Cultivation of primary human liver cells in innovative 3D perfusion multi-compartment capillary membrane bioreactors using decentralized mass exchange and integral oxygenation provides in vitro conditions close to the physiologic environment in vivo. While a few scale-up bioreactors were used clinically, inoculated liver progenitors in these bioreactors were not investigated. Therefore, we characterized regenerative processes and expression patterns of auto- and paracrine mediators involved in liver regeneration in bioreactors after patient treatment. Primary human liver cells containing parenchymal and non-parenchymal cells co-cultivated in bioreactors were used for clinical extra-corporeal liver support to bridge to liver transplantation. 3D tissue re-structuring in bioreactors was studied; expression of proteins and genes related to regenerative processes and hepatic progenitors was analyzed. Formation of multiple bile ductular networks and colonies of putative progenitors were observed within parenchymal cell aggregates. HGF was detected in scattered cells located close to vascular-like structures, expression of HGFA and c-Met was assigned to biliary cells and hepatocytes. Increased expression of genes associated to hepatic progenitors was detected following clinical application. The results confirm auto- and paracrine interactions between co-cultured cells in the bioreactor. The 3D bioreactor provides a valuable tool to study mechanisms of progenitor activation and hepatic regeneration ex vivo under patient plasma treatment. (c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This article was published in Biotechnol Bioeng
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