Dried human skin fibroblasts as a new substratum for functional culture of hepatic cells

  • Agnieszka Wencel
  • Karolina Ewa Zakrzewska
  • Anna Samluk
  • Bartłomiej Henryk Noszczyk
  • Dorota Genowefa Pijanowska
  • Krzysztof Dariusz Pluta Department of Hybrid Microbiosystems Engineering, Nalecz Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Keywords: cocultures, culture substratum, dried fibroblasts, human skin fibroblasts, C3A cells


The primary hepatocytes culture is still one of the main challenges in toxicology studies in drug discovery, development of in vitro models to study liver function, and cell-based therapies. Isolated hepatocytes display a rapid decline in viability and liver-specific functions including albumin production, conversion of ammonia to urea, and activity of the drug metabolizing enzymes. A number of methods have been developed in order to maintain hepatocytes in their highly differentiated state in vitro. Optimization of culture conditions includes a variety of media formulations and supplements, growth surface coating with the components of extracellular matrix or with synthetic polymers, three-dimensional growth scaffolds and decellularized tissues, and coculture with other cell types required for the normal cell-cell interactions. Here we propose a new substratum for hepatic cells made by drying of a confluent human skin fibroblasts’ culture. This growth surface coating, prepared using maximally simplified procedure, combines the advantages of the use of extracellular matrices and growth factors/cytokines secreted by the feeder layer cells. In comparison to the hepatoma cells grown on a regular tissue culture plastic cells cultured on the dried fibroblasts were able to synthesize albumin in larger quantities and to form greater number of apical vacuoles. Additionally, the number of cells grown on the new substratum was not reduced after fourteen days of culture, as it was noticed for coculture with the living feeder layer cells. This fact could make the dried fibroblasts coating an ideal candidate for the substrate for non-dividing human hepatocytes.


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