Developing advanced technologies for encouraging the ex vivo assembly of functional hepatic tissue for implantation into the human body or for in vitro drug testing is one of the challenging tasks facing tissue engineers. In the present study, we utilized a perfusion bioreactor system equipped with a novel flow-distributing mesh for online cell seeding into macroporous alginate scaffolds and cultivation of multiple constructs of the C3A human hepatocyte cell line. Optimization of the medium flow rate (100 mL/min) and perfusion duration (12 h) yielded cell constructs with high cell seeding efficiency (98% of the input cells) and cell distribution throughout the entire scaffold. Further, we show that interstitial medium flow enabled uniform cell delivery into 35 constructs lined across the bioreactor cross section. Perfusion-cultivated cell constructs revealed much greater rates of cell proliferation, albumin-specific secretion, and gene expression of the phase I enzyme, CYP3A4, and phase II enzyme, UGT2B7, than did static-cultivated constructs. Most impressive was the 50-fold increase in CYP3A4 expression of the perfused cell constructs as compared to the level in static-cultivated cell constructs. We thus believe that the hepatic tissue constructs developed herein may be used in drug discovery programs for elucidating drug metabolism and toxicity profiles and for treating failing livers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering