Use of micropathways to improve oxygen transport in a hepatic system

J Biomech Eng. 2000 Jun;122(3):268-73. doi: 10.1115/1.429657.


Establishing suitable oxygen transport pathways within bioartificial liver replacement devices continues to be an important engineering challenge. Oxygen delivery is critical since this is one of the nutrients necessary to maintain hepatocyte viability and function. In the current study, the microporosity of a collagen extracellular matrix has been modified to permit both diffusion and convection mass transport. Using fluorescent visualization, the enhancement technique was found to extend the oxygen transport distance from 170 microns to 360 microns. Furthermore, in hepatocyte culture studies, the enhancement technique was observed to yield a sixfold increase in the amount of viable hepatocytes able to be sustained by a single O2 source. Normalized function studies confirm that hepatocyte function was also improved in the enhanced collagen configurations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured / physiology
  • Collagen / physiology*
  • Convection
  • Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Diffusion
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Gels
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Liver, Artificial
  • Male
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Porosity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Gels
  • Collagen
  • Oxygen