Isolation of primary human hepatocytes from normal and diseased liver tissue: a one hundred liver experience

PLoS One. 2011 Mar 29;6(3):e18222. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018222.


Successful and consistent isolation of primary human hepatocytes remains a challenge for both cell-based therapeutics/transplantation and laboratory research. Several centres around the world have extensive experience in the isolation of human hepatocytes from non-diseased livers obtained from donor liver surplus to surgical requirement or at hepatic resection for tumours. These livers are an important but limited source of cells for therapy or research. The capacity to isolate cells from diseased liver tissue removed at transplantation would substantially increase availability of cells for research. However no studies comparing the outcome of human hepatocytes isolation from diseased and non-diseased livers presently exist. Here we report our experience isolating human hepatocytes from organ donors, non-diseased resected liver and cirrhotic tissue. We report the cell yields and functional qualities of cells isolated from the different types of liver and demonstrate that a single rigorous protocol allows the routine harvest of good quality primary hepatocytes from the most commonly accessible human liver tissue samples.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Count
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Hepatectomy
  • Hepatocytes / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Perfusion
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors