SiO2 entrapment of animal cells: Liver-specific metabolic activities in silica-overlaid hepatocytes

Maurizio Muraca, Maria Teresa Vilei, Gian Eros Zanusso, Chiara Ferraresso, Sara Boninsegna, Renzo Dal Monte, Paolo Carraro, Giovanni Carturan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rat hepatocytes in a collagen-gel sandwich configuration were exposed to silicon alkoxides in a gas phase, yielding a 0.05 to 0.15 μm porous silica layer on the gel surface. Cell viability was unaffected by the procedure. After 24 h, bilirubin conjugation, ammonia removal, urea synthesis, and diazepam metabolism were unaffected by the procedure. However, both the ammonia removal rate and diazepam metabolism were increased after 48 hr, whereas urea synthesis was unaffected. These data indicate that silica overlay allows efficient metabolic activity of collagen-gel entrapped hepatocytes. The fact that the KM of bilirubin conjugation was unaffected by the presence of the silica membrane suggests that the transport of albumin-bound substrates is not decreased. The enhancement in some metabolic activities found 48 h after the entrapment procedure may be the result of favorable changes in the hepatocyte microenvironment. These characteristics might be useful for the development of organotypical bioartificial liver devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-669
Number of pages6
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Bioartificial liver
  • Novel liver assist devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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