Alzebdeh DA, Matthew HW, et al.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wayne State University, 818 W. Hancock, Detroit, MI 48201.
Journal of cellular biochemistry. Mar 2017.
In vitro assembly of functional liver tissue is a prerequisite for the transplantation of tissue-engineered livers. There is an increasing demand for in vitro models that replicate complex events occurring in the liver. However, tissue engineering of implantable liver systems is currently limited by the difficulty of assembling three dimensional hepatocyte cultures of a useful size, while maintaining full cell viability. Recent reports have demonstrated that bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) can provide a number of cues promoting hepatocyte growth and development. In this study, the effects of BM-MSCs co-culture on hepatocyte metabolism were evaluated as a function of scaffold seeding arrangement. BM-MSCs were co-cultured with hepatocytes in porous chitosan-heparin scaffolds using several seeding arrangements. The seeded scaffolds were subjected to orbital shaking to enhance mass transfer. BM-MSC-hepatocyte co-cultures exhibited higher rates of hepatocyte-specific functions, compared to hepatocyte-only cultures, regardless of the seeding arrangement. Cells formed smaller-compact spheroids in the heterotypic systems compared to mono-cultures of hepatocytes only. The spheroids exhibited reduction in size with time in all conditions except for the condition where BM-MSCs were seeded one day after seeding hepatocytes. In this condition, spheroids increased in size due to BM-MSC proliferation. Spheroid size reduction was hypothesized to be the result of cyclic shear stresses generated by the orbital shaking. Furthermore, results suggested that BM-MSC seeding onto preformed hepatocyte spheroids provide a degree of shear-protection and trophic stimuli. Overall, the results indicate that co-culturing hepatocytes with BM-MSCs enhanced their metabolic functions for the first week of culture. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.