Mathematical modelling of oxygen gradients in stem cell-derived liver tissue

Joseph A. Leedale, Baltasar Lucendo-Villarin, Jose Meseguer-Ripolles, Alvile Kasarinaite, Steven D. Webb, David C. Hay, Katriina Aalto-Setala
2021 PLoS ONE  
A major bottleneck in the study of human liver physiology is the provision of stable liver tissue in sufficient quantity. As a result, current approaches to modelling human drug efficacy and toxicity rely heavily on immortalized human and animal cell lines. These models are informative but do possess significant drawbacks. To address the issues presented by those models, researchers have turned to pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). PSCs can be generated from defined genetic backgrounds, are
more » ... rounds, are scalable, and capable of differentiation to all the cell types found in the human body, representing an attractive source of somatic cells for in vitro and in vivo endeavours. Although unlimited numbers of somatic cell types can be generated in vitro, their maturation still remains problematic. In order to develop high fidelity PSC-derived liver tissue, it is necessary to better understand the cell microenvironment in vitro including key elements of liver physiology. In vivo a major driver of zonated liver function is the oxygen gradient that exists from periportal to pericentral regions. In this paper, we demonstrate how cell culture conditions for PSC-derived liver sphere systems can be optimised to recapitulate physiologically relevant oxygen gradients by using mathematical modelling. The mathematical model incorporates some often-understated features and mechanisms of traditional spheroid systems such as cell-specific oxygen uptake, media volume, spheroid size, and well dimensions that can lead to a spatially heterogeneous distribution of oxygen. This mathematical modelling approach allows for the calibration and identification of culture conditions required to generate physiologically realistic function within the microtissue through recapitulation of the in vivo microenvironment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0244070 pmid:33556073 fatcat:qlq4a5tn4rehvcm3zpw7usio2y