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Hybrid Artificial Liver Using Hepatocyte Organoid Culture


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Kazumori Funatsu, Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan. E-mail:


Abstract: We developed 2 types of hybrid artificial liver modules using hepatocyte organoid culture. One was a polyurethane foam (PUF)/hepatocyte spheroid packed-bed module. Hepatocytes spontaneously formed spheroids in the PUF pores, and they maintained liver-specific functions well for at least 2 weeks in vitro. As a preclinical experiment, a hybrid artificial liver with 200 g porcine hepatocytes was applied to a pig (25 kg) with liver failure and showed that the hybrid artificial liver was effective in support of liver functions and stabilization of general conditions. We established a new technique of hepatocyte organoid formation using centrifugal force. A hepatocyte organoid formed by centrifugation in hollow fibers maintained functions for more than 4 months in vitro. We developed a new sinusoid-like structure module having hollow fibers arranged by spacers in a micro-regular arrangement. Inoculated hepatocytes in the extra-fiber space of the module formed the organoid by centrifugation, and they maintained the functions for at least 1 month in vitro. The results indicated that this module seems to be promising as a hybrid artificial liver.