Efficacy of a polyurethane foam/spheroid artificial liver by using human hepatoblastoma cell line (Hep G2)

J. Fukuda, K. Okamura, K. Nakazawa, H. Ijima, Y. Yamashita, M. Shimada, K. Shirabe, E. Tsujita, K. Sugimachi, K. Funatsu

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55 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the availability of human hepatoblastoma cell line (Hep G2), compared with human primary hepatocytes (HH) and porcine primary hepatocytes (PH), as a cell source for the hybrid artificial liver support system (HALSS) by using polyurethane foam (PUF). All three kinds of hepatocytes spontaneously formed spherical multicellular aggregates (spheroids) of 100-200 μm diameter in the pores of PUF within 3 days of culture. In a PUF stationary culture, Hep G2 spheroids recovered the ammonia removal activity that was lost in monolayer culture, although the removal for each unit cell number was about one tenth that of HH spheroids and about one eighth of PH spheroids. The synthesis activities of albumin and fibrinogen of each unit cell number of Hep G2 were also upregulated by PUF spheroid culture, and were about twice as high as in monolayer culture. The albumin secretion activity of Hep G2 spheroids was almost the same as that of PH spheroids. HH scarcely secreted these proteins in this experiment, probably because they were cultured in a serum-free medium. In the PUF module in a circulation culture, HH had high ammonia removal and low synthesis activities similar to stationary culture. Hep G2 proliferated to a high cell density, such as about 4.8 × 107 cells/cm3-module at 10 days of culture. Although Hep G2 spheroids had low ammonia removal activity in each cell, the removal rate in the PUF module was almost the same as for PH at 7 days of culture because of the high cell density culture by cell proliferation. The albumin secretion rate by Hep G2 in the PUF module also increased with cell proliferation and was about 10 times higher than the initial rate for PH at 7 days of culture. These results suggest that Hep G2 is a potential cell source for the PUF-HALSS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalCell Transplantation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Transplantation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology


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