Oxygen Transfer in a Diffusion-Limited Hollow Fiber Bioartificial Liver


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. P.D. Hay, Bioengineering Unit, University of Strathclyde, Wolfson Centre, 106 Rottenrow, Glasgow G4, ONW, U.K. E-mail: lfp96142@strath.ac.uk


Abstract: A mathematical model was developed to predict oxygen transport in a hollow fiber bioartificial liver device. Model parameters were taken from the Hepatix ELAD configuration; a blood perfused hollow fiber cartridge with hepatocytes seeded in the extracapillary space. Cellular oxygen uptake is based on Michaelis-Menten kinetics, and nonlinear oxygen transport in the blood is considered. The effect of modulating three important parameters is investigated, namely, the Michaelis-Menten constants Vm (volumetric oxygen consumption of the hepatocytes) and Km (half-saturation constant), and hollow fiber oxygen permeability. A computer implementation of the model is used to assess whether a given cell mass could be maintained within such a device. The results suggest that liver cell lines possessing low rates of oxygen consumption could be maintained if membranes of sufficiently high oxygen permeability are used. For primary hepatocytes, which have much higher oxygen demands, radial transport of oxygen is rate limiting, and the axial-flow hollow fiber cartridge is thus an inappropriate design for use as a bioartificial liver with primary hepatocytes.