Neonatal livers better source for hepatocytes than adult livers

September 17, 2013

A research team in Spain has developed high-yield preparations of viable hepatocytes (liver cells) isolated for transplantation from cryopreserved (frozen), banked neonatal livers that ranged in age from one day to 23 days. The researchers also assessed cell quality and function and found that neonatal hepatocytes show better thawing recovery than hepatocytes isolated from adult livers.

The study appears as an early e-publication for the journal Cell Transplantation, and is now freely available online.

"There are challenges in keeping a supply of good quality livers for hepatocyte isolation," said study co-author Dr. M.J. Gomez-Lechon of the Center for Hepatological Investigation in Valencia, Spain. "Once more, hepatocyte transplantation competes with organ transplantation. The source for hepatocyte isolation for transplantation is mainly adult livers that have been found unsuitable for organ transplantation. Accordingly, neonatal livers have emerged as an alternative source for hepatocytes because they are too small for , yet have good quality cells."

According to Dr. Gomez-Lechon, the purpose of their current work was to explore various aspects of livers derived from as alternative sources for isolating human hepatic cells. This required (1) assessing the suitability of neonatal livers that did not fill the requirements; (2) assessing , the preservation of cell membrane integrity; (3) assessing the functionality of thawed neonatal hepatocytes and; (4) analyzing the percentage of progenitor cells in cryopreserved hepatocyte preparations.

Knowing that cryopreservation can have a detrimental impact on adult hepatocytes upon thawing, including the diminishment of cell attachment efficiency, their research suggests that neonatal hepatocytes can be cryopreserved with "no significant loss of viability after thawing", an important factor for .

"Our results not only indicate that neonatal hepatocytes can be cryopreserved without significant loss of viability, but also after thawing they show smaller apoptopic and necrotic cell numbers when compared to adult hepatocytes," explained Dr. Gomez-Lechon.

Another benefit of hepatocytes derived from neonatal livers, said the researchers, is that their greater viability provided greater cell attachment efficiency and expression of adhesion molecules. They also suggested that there are good indications of hepatocyte mitochondria preservation.

"The larger number of in thawed hepatocyte suspensions suggests that they may have an advantage for being engrafted into the host and better long-term survival," they wrote. "Thus, the characteristics of thawed neonatal hepatic cells may confer important advantages for transplantation when compared to adult cells."

"This study demonstrates an alternative source for hepatocytes that could favorably impact the transplantation of , though numerous other factors need to be considered. Unfortunately, in most studies, stem, fetal or immature hepatocytes, do not engraft or proliferate well post transplantation. If the neonatal hepatocytes are mature enough to engraft efficiently, they may be useful for transplant. Studies of engraftment and proliferation will be needed to fully evaluate the value of these cells for patient transplants" said Dr. Stephen Strom of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden and section editor for Cell Transplantation.

Explore further: Mature liver cells may be better than stem cells for liver cell transplantation therapy

More information: Tolosa, L.; Pareja-Ibars, E.; Donato, M. T.; Cortes, M.; Lopez, S.; Jimenez, N.; Mir, J.; Castell, J. V.; Gomez-Lechon, M. J. Neonatal livers: a source for the isolation of good-performing hepatocytes for cell transplantation. Cell Transplant. Appeared or available online: June 25, 2013

Related Stories

Mature liver cells may be better than stem cells for liver cell transplantation therapy

June 4, 2012
After carrying out a study comparing the repopulation efficiency of immature hepatic stem/progenitor cells and mature hepatocytes transplanted into liver-injured rats, a research team from Sapporo, Japan concluded that mature ...

Japanese scientists show 'new' liver generation using hepatocyte cell transplantation

June 11, 2012
Researchers in Japan have found that hepatocytes, cells comprising the main tissue of the liver and involved in protein synthesis and storage, can assist in tissue engineering and create a "new liver system" in mouse models ...

New genetic screen paves the way for long-sought treatments for liver disease

April 11, 2013
Chronic liver failure is a major health problem that causes about one million deaths around the world each year. A study published April 11th by Cell Press in the journal Cell reveals a new type of screen for identifying ...

Recommended for you

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy

July 24, 2017
A new way of producing the seasonal flu vaccine could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection.

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.