Assessment of bioartificial liver function

Cells are choosy when it comes to their environment. The smoothness, softness (and hardness), nutrient, oxygen, pH and signaling molecules are all influencing the cells to perform in the best possible manner. The scaffold material can directly support cell growth and function but might not be transparent for molecules. This is important because hepatocytes take up toxic compounds from the blood side, metaboliz it and excrete it into the bile system. To make that possible we will construct the scaffold so it is possible to put gel material in between the blood and bile networks. This gel allows diffusion of molecules from the blood side to the bile side. The endothelial and hepatocytes in between will then naturally take up and convert the compounds to be metabolized and release the waste product into the bile network. To make this efficiently the cells are so called polarized. The hepatocytes have two sides that each are specialized. The side towards the blood is specialized in taking up compounds to be metabolized and to release for instance albumin in the blood stream. The side facing the bile is specialized in releasing waste products. We will explore loading the gel between the network with different molecules that can help establishing the polarization on the hepatocytes.

Projects related to this is the project "Functional characterization of a vascularized 3D bioartificial liver with perfused human precision-cut liver slices in a microfluidic culture system as standard" performed by Ph D Student Viktoriia Starokozhko at University of Groningen.
15 APRIL 2024