Animal model for liver cell banking from non-heart beating donors after prolonged ischaemia time

L. Porretti, S. Gatti, R. Gramignoli, F. Colombo, R. Lopa, A. Cattaneo, M. Scalamogna, G. Colombo, G. Rossi, F. Bonino, P. Rebulla, D. Prati

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Background and aim: Although there is a growing interest on the use of non-heart beating donors to enlarge the liver donor pool, livers with prolonged warm ischaemia time are not currently considered for organ transplantation. We hypothesised that these organs may represent a source of hepatocytes for cell transplantation and/or use in bioartificial liver devices. Thus, we investigated if prolonged ischaemia could influence the recovery and viability of functional hepatocytes dissociated from rat livers. Methods: Hepatocytes were isolated from the liver within 15 min after death (t = 15 min) and after 4, 8 and 12 h of ischaemia. Cells were either maintained in culture or cryopreserved. In all products, we evaluated cell recovery and viability, hepatocyte markers and cellular functions, including albumin and urea production. Results: The number of cells per gram of tissue was similar at 15 min, 4 and 8 h, while it was significantly decreased at 12 h. About 0.2 × 106 viable cells expressing hepatocyte markers and producing albumin and urea were isolated up to 8 h of ischaemia per gram of tissue. Conclusions: Recovery of viable and functional hepatocytes seems possible after prolonged ischaemia time. These data warrant the evaluation of hepatocyte isolation from human livers of non-heart beating donors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-911
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Hepatocytes
  • Non-heart beating donor
  • Rat
  • Warm ischaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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