Influence of Flow Conditions and Matrix Coatings on Growth and Differentiation of Three-Dimensionally Cultured Rat Hepatocytes
Maintenance of liver-specific function of hepatocytes in culture is still difficult. Improved culture conditions may enhance the cell growth and function of cultured cells. We investigated the effect of three-dimensional culture under flow conditions, and the influence of surface modifications in hepatocyte cultures. Hepatocytes were harvested from Lewis rats. Cells were cultured on three-dimensional polymeric poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) matrices in static culture, or in a pulsatile
... in a pulsatile flow-bioreactor system. Different surface modifications of matrices were investigated: coating with collagen I, collagen IV, laminin, or fibronectin; or uncoated matrix. Hepatocyte numbers, DNA content, and albumin secretion rate were assessed over the observation period. Culture under flow condition significantly enhanced cell numbers. An additional improvement of this effect was observed, when matrix coating was used. Cellular function also showed a significant increase (4-to 5-fold) under flow conditions when compared with static culture. Our data showed that culture under flow conditions improves cell number, and strongly enhances cellular function. Matrix modification by coating with extracellular matrix showed overall an additive stimulatory effect. Our conclusion is that combining three-dimensional culture under flow conditions and using matrix modification significantly improves culture conditions and is therefore attractive for the development of successful culture systems for hepatocytes.