Hepatocyte and kupffer cells co-cultured on micropatterned surfaces to optimize hepatocyte function

Tissue Eng. 2006 Apr;12(4):751-61. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.12.751.


One strategy for temporarily extending the lives of patients with liver failure is the use of bioartificial liver (BAL) support devices. The functional components of BALs are the parenchymal liver cells known as hepatocytes. One design option for further improving current BAL performance levels is to include the non-parenchymal cells of the liver (e.g., Kupffer cells) in the design. In the current study, the effect of Kupffer cells on hepatocyte function was investigated using micropatterned co-cultures of these two liver cell populations. With traditional co-culture methods, the user is unable to control the relative proximity of one cell type to another. In this study, two different micropatterning techniques were used to engineer macro and fine micropatterned configurations for evaluating hepatocyte-Kupffer cell co-cultures. The ratio of one cell population to the other was also adjusted to evaluate the effects on hepatocyte function. The micropatterned co-cultures were maintained for ten days to evaluate for morphological and functional (e.g., albumin, urea) changes. The results illustrate that micropatterning hepatocytes, in the arrangements of this study, significantly improved hepatocyte function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Separation / methods
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Collagen Type I / chemistry
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Gels
  • Glass / chemistry
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Kupffer Cells / cytology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Siloxanes / chemistry
  • Surface Properties
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Urea / metabolism


  • Albumins
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Collagen Type I
  • Culture Media
  • Gels
  • Siloxanes
  • Urea