Effect of cryopreservation on the appearance and liver function of hepatocyte-like cells in cultures of cirrhotic liver of biliary atresia


Previously, we reported that non-parenchymal cell (NPC) fractions from cirrhotic liver of biliary atresia (BA) may contain stem/progenitor cells, and clusters of hepatocyte-like cells appear via hepatocyte growth factor/c-Met signaling in primary cultures of NPCs. BA is a rare and serious liver disease, and procurement of BA cells is difficult. Therefore, cryopreservation of BA liver cells is an unavoidable challenge. In this study, we examined the appearance and liver function of hepatocyte-like cells in cultures of BA liver-derived NPC fractions after cryopreservation for 1 or 6 mo using a chemically defined cryopreservation solution, STEM-CELLBANKER. Although a decrease in cell viability was observed in recovered cells after 1 mo of cryopreservation, clusters of hepatocyte-like cells appeared in the culture of cells that had been cryopreserved for 1 or 6 mo, similar to non-cryopreserved cells. In addition, these hepatocyte-like cells expressed hepatocyte-related mRNAs and demonstrated albumin production and glycogen storage. The present results suggest that hepatic stem/progenitor cells in NPC fractions may be efficiently cryopreserved, as demonstrated by the appearance of hepatocyte-like cells that show various hepatic functions even after cryopreservation. This study may lead to future BA cell therapy using the patient’s own cells.

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Correspondence to Taisuke Yamazaki.

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The experimental protocol was approved by the ethics committee for human experimentation at the National Center for Child Health and Development (Japan) and the Kohno Clinical Medicine Research Institute (Japan), and informed consent was obtained from all patients.

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Editor: Tetsuji Okamoto

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Yamazaki, T., Enosawa, S. & Tokiwa, T. Effect of cryopreservation on the appearance and liver function of hepatocyte-like cells in cultures of cirrhotic liver of biliary atresia. In Vitro Cell.Dev.Biol.-Animal 54, 401–405 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11626-018-0260-8

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  • Biliary atresia
  • Non-parenchymal cell fractions
  • Hepatocyte-like cells
  • Cryopreservation