Cryopreserved human hepatocytes from cell bank: In vitro function and clinical application

U. Baccarani, A. Sanna, A. Cariani, M. Sainz, G. L. Adani, D. Lorenzin, D. Montanaro, M. Scalamogna, G. Piccolo, A. Risaliti, F. Bresadola, A. Donini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We Aimed to analyze the in vitro function of isolated and cryopreserved human hepatocytes (CHH) from a cell bank and to define their potential clinical application in a bioartificial liver (BAL) device. Methods. Over 24 months, 103 not transplantable livers were utilized for human hepatocytes isolation and cryopreservation. Hepatocytes isolated by collagenase were analyzed for yield, viability, diazepam metabolism, and production of human albumin after isolation and cryopreservation in LN2. Results. The causes for refusal for transplantation were macrosteatosis >60%, ischemic damage due to donor hypotension, and nonviral cirrhosis in 60%, 11%, and 8%, respectively. Cell yields averaged 7 million hepatocytes per gram of liver of mean viability of 80% ± 13%. The viability of CHH after thawing averaged 50%. Thawed hepatocytes showed diazepam metabolism, and human albumin synthesis comparable to fresh cells. CHH were utilized as the biological component of a BAL for temporary support as three applications of two patients affected by fulminant hepatic failure awaiting urgent transplant. Ten to 13 billion viable CHH were loaded into each BAL. Liver function showed bilirubin and ammonia reduction at the end of each treatment. One patient was successfully bridged to emergency OLTx after one BAL; in the second case there was spontaneous recovery of liver function after two BAL. Conclusions. Recovery of donor human livers unwanted for transplantation allowed isolation and cryopreservation of viable and functionally active human hepatocytes, which have been banked and successfully used for clinical applications of a BAL device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-259
Number of pages4
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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