Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 525–535 | Cite as

Microchannel bioreactors for bioartificial liver support

  • Jaesung Park
  • Mehmet Toner
  • Martin L. Yarmush
  • Arno W. Tilles
Research Paper


An extracorporeal bioartificial liver (BAL) device containing viable hepatocytes has the potential to provide temporary hepatic support to liver failure patients, serving as a bridge to transplantation while awaiting a suitable donor. In some patients, providing temporary hepatic support may be sufficient to allow adequate regeneration of the host liver, thereby eliminating the need for a liver transplant. Although the BAL device is a promising technology for the treatment of liver failure, there are several technical challenges that must be overcome in order to develop systems with sufficient processing capacity and of manageable size. In this study, the authors describe the critical issues involved in developing a BAL device. They also discuss their experiences in hepatocyte culture optimization within the context of a microchannel flat-plate BAL device.


Oxygen Hepatocyte Microgrooves Bioreactor Shear stress 

List of symbols

H or h

Channel height (μm)


Inlet oxygen concentration (nmol/cm3)


Peclèt number (no unit)


Volumetric flow rate (mL/min)


Channel width (cm)


Oxygen diffusion coefficient (cm2/s)


Cell seeding density (cells/cm2)


Damköhler number (no unit)

OUR (Vmax)

Oxygen uptake rate (nmol/s/106 cells)


Shear stress (dyn/cm2)



This work was partially supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (K08 DK66040) and (R01 DK43371). The microfabrication was performed at the BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems (BioMEMS) Resource Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital funded by the National Institutes of Health (P41 EB02503).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaesung Park
    • 1
  • Mehmet Toner
    • 1
  • Martin L. Yarmush
    • 1
  • Arno W. Tilles
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Engineering in Medicine and Surgical ServicesMassachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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