Liver cell transplant

Human hepatic cells. Credit: BioLamina

Summary of the article Temporal Dynamics of Metabolic Acquisition in Grafted Engineered Human Liver Tissue. Chelsea L Fortin, Tara N McCray, Sarah H Saxton, Fredrik Johansson, Christian B Andino, Jonathan Mene, Yuliang Wang, Kelly R Stevens. PMID: 36328790 PMCID: PMC10259871 DOI: 10.1002/adbi.202200208

Some patients have organs that do not function properly and need an organ transplant. There are very few available donor organs for transplantation and the wait times can be very long. As a result, many patients die before they can receive a transplant. One way to overcome this problem is through tissue grafts, using tissue grown in the lab.

Several technologies have been developed to assemble cultured tissues in patients. Some even allow the implanted tissue to be remotely controlled. 

This study focused on an engineered human liver tissue grafted into rodents. The researchers measured tissue growth and function at sequential stages of the transplantation.

It was observed that the hepatic cells organize to form structures unique to the liver, called hepatic cords. The proteins produced by these hepatic cells carry different functions in distinct parts of the liver tissue, mimicking what is known as hepatic zonation. This is the first report of engineered human liver tissue zonation after implantation in vivo.

These findings are promising for patients suffering from liver failure and needing a liver transplant, given that less than 10% of global transplantation needs are currently met.