HepG2-Based Designer Cells with Heat-Inducible Enhanced Liver Functions

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Functional human hepatocytes have been a pivotal tool in pharmacological studies such as those investigating drug metabolism and hepatotoxicity. However, primary human hepatocytes are difficult to obtain in large quantities and may cause ethical problems, necessitating the development of a new cell source to replace human primary hepatocytes. We previously developed genetically modified murine hepatoma cell lines with inducible enhanced liver functions, in which eight liver-enriched transcription factor (LETF) genes were introduced into hepatoma cells as inducible transgene expression cassettes. Here, we establish a human hepatoma cell line with heat-inducible liver functions using HepG2 cells. The genetically modified hepatoma cells, designated HepG2/8F_HS, actively proliferated under normal culture conditions and, therefore, can be easily prepared in large quantities. When the expression of LETFs was induced by heat treatment at 43 °C for 30 min, cells ceased proliferation and demonstrated enhanced liver functions. Furthermore, three-dimensional spheroid cultures of HepG2/8F_HS cells showed a further increase in liver functions upon heat treatment. Comprehensive transcriptome analysis using DNA microarrays revealed that HepG2/8F_HS cells had enhanced overall expression of many liver function-related genes following heat treatment. HepG2/8F_HS cells could be useful as a new cell source for pharmacological studies and for constructing bioartificial liver systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1194
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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