Primary culture of adult rat hepatocytes after 48-hour preservation of the liver with cold UW solution



Rat livers were perfused and stored for 48 hr in cold University of Wisconsin solution before dissociation by the two-step collagenase method. At that time, glycogen content was significantly reduced, but no obvious changes in albumin, β-actin and aldolase B mRNAs and in glutathione levels were observed. Enzymatic perfusion yielded 280 ± 30 × 106 viable hepatocytes vs. 520 ± 40 × 106 viable hepatocytes from unstored organs. Cell viability determined by trypan blue exclusion was 74% and 90%, respectively. Hepatocytes from University of Wisconsin—preserved livers had a 29% reduced adenosine triphosphate content, but glutathione levels did not significantly differ from those found in unstored cells. When put into culture, hepatocytes formed typical monolayers of granular epithelial cells and did not exhibit alteration of their fine structure when compared with cells from unstored organs. After 24 and 48 hr, they showed variations in cytochrome P-450 content and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase activity similar to those observed with unstored cells. By contrast, overall protein synthesis and albumin secretion rate were 40% and 30% lower, respectively. Hepatocytes from University of Wisconsin—preserved organs could be cryopreserved and further cultured as unstored cells. The University of Wisconsin solution was also used to preserve isolated hepatocytes. Viability of freshly isolated hepatocytes was decreased by only 10% after 48 hr of hypothermic liver storage when assayed by intracellular lactate dehydrogenase content. However, after 4 hr of storage, in contrast with hepatocytes preserved in L15 Leibovitz medium, the cells attached poorly to plastic and exhibited morphological alterations. These results show that rat hepatocytes are still viable, well functional and able to survive in culture after 48 hr University of Wisconsin preservation of the liver and suggest that isolated hepatocytes survive better in a culture medium than in this organ storage solution. (HEPATOLOGY 1990;12:1329–1336).