• acute liver failure;
  • goat fetus;
  • hepatic function;
  • hepatocyte;
  • human fetus;
  • pig fetus;
  • xenogeneic hepatocyte transplantation


Background and Aim:  To overcome the problem of shortage of donor organs, xenotransplantation of cells offers an alternative to orthotopic transplantation. Of the higher animals, the pig is considered as a suitable donor because of the similarity in size and function of pig organs to human organs. However, successful transplantation of pig organs/cells for human therapy is limited by hyperacute rejection, improper functioning of xenografts and the risk of transmission of endogenous retroviruses to the recipient. Thus, there is a pressing need to explore an alternate mammalian source to bridge the gap between the donor and the recipient waiting for transplantation. This has warranted us to explore the application of goat hepatocytes as a treatment modality in acute liver failure.

Methods:  In the present investigation, isolated goat hepatocytes were assessed for their viability, membrane integrity, synthetic and cytotoxic functions, and compared with the hepatocytes of pig and human fetuses (28–36 weeks).

Results:  The isolated hepatocytes from goat, pig and human fetuses were comparable in their viability, membrane integrity and synthetic functions. However, the cytotoxic functions assessed using 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2 thiazoyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide assay demonstrated a significant reduction in the viability of the pig hepatocytes (38%) as compared with the goat and human fetal hepatocytes, which retained their viability (98%) on incubation with normal human serum.

Conclusion:  These observations are significant as they suggest that goat hepatocytes probably can be explored as a source for cell therapy in the treatment of acute liver failure.