Primary Human Hepatocytes Repopulate Livers of Mice After In Vitro Culturing and Lentiviral-Mediated Gene Transfer

Abstract

Cell-based therapies represent a promising alternative to orthotopic liver transplantation. However, therapeutic effects are limited by low cell engraftment rates. We recently introduced a technique creating human hepatocyte spheroids for potential therapeutic application. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether these spheroids are suitable for engraftment in diseased liver tissues. Intrasplenic spheroid transplantation into immunodeficient uPA/SCID/beige mice was performed. Hepatocyte transduction ability prior to transplantation was tested by lentiviral labeling using red-green-blue (RGB) marking. Eight weeks after transplantation, animals were sacrificed and livers were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. To investigate human hepatocyte-specific gene expression profiles in mice, quantitative real-time-PCR was applied. Human albumin and alpha-1-antitrypsin concentrations in mouse serum were quantified to assess the levels of human chimerism. Precultured human hepatocytes reestablished their physiological liver tissue architecture and function upon transplantation in mice. Positive immunohistochemical labeling of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen revealed that human hepatocytes retained their in vivo proliferation capacity. Expression profiles of human genes analyzed in chimeric mouse livers resembled levels determined in native human tissue. Extensive vascularization of human cell clusters was detected by demonstration of von Willebrand factor activity. To model gene therapy approaches, lentiviral transduction was performed ex vivo and fluorescent microscopic imaging revealed maintenance of RGB marking in vivo. Altogether, this is the first report demonstrating that cultured and retroviral transduced human hepatocyte spheroids are able to engraft and maintain their regenerative potential in vivo.

DOI: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2015.0427

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@inproceedings{Bierwolf2016PrimaryHH, title={Primary Human Hepatocytes Repopulate Livers of Mice After In Vitro Culturing and Lentiviral-Mediated Gene Transfer}, author={Jeanette Bierwolf and Tassilo Volz and Marc L{\"{u}tgehetmann and Lena Allweiss and Kristoffer Riecken and Michael Warlich and Boris Fehse and J{\"{o}rg Christoph Kalff and Maura Dandri and J C Pollok}, booktitle={Tissue engineering. Part A}, year={2016} }