Primary hepatocytes represent a physiologically relevant model for drug toxicity screening. Here, we created a biologically inspired artificial liver sinusoid with a microfluidic endothelial-like barrier having mass transport properties similar to the liver acinus. This unit consisted of a cord of hepatocytes (50 x 30 x 500 microm) fed by diffusion of nutrients across the microfluidic endothelial-like barrier from a convective transport vessel (10 nL/min). This configuration sustained rat and human hepatocytes for 7 days without an extracellular matrix (ECM) coating. Experiments with the metabolism mediated liver toxicant diclofenac showed no hepatotoxicity after 4 h and an IC(50) of 334 +/- 41 microM after 24 h.
(c) 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.