Mebiolgel, a thermoreversible polymer as a scaffold for three dimensional culture of Huh7 cell line with improved hepatocyte differentiation marker expression and HCV replication

Indian J Med Microbiol. Oct-Dec 2015;33(4):554-9. doi: 10.4103/0255-0857.167330.


Purpose: A novel three dimensional (3D) culture system purely synthesised from co-polymer which is free from biological contamination for Huh7 cell cultivation and hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication has been attempted.

Materials and methods: Mebiolgel, a thermo-reversible gelation polymer was used as a 3D scaffold for culturing Huh7, a liver carcinoma cell line used in our study. The 3D culture of the cells were infected with cell culture derived HCV.

Result: The scaffold supported the cell growth as 3D spheroids for up to 63 days. Moreover mebiolgel was found to be improving the hepatocyte differentiation of Huh7 cells at the transcript level. Three dimensional culture was susceptible for HCV infection, and this was confirmed by detecting the HCV replication intermediate viral core antigen.

Conclusion: Mebiolgel based culture system was proven to be suited for 3D culture of Huh7 cells by improvising liver specific genotypic expression and was susceptible for HCV replication. Since mebiolgel based Huh 7 express better hepatocyte differentiation markers genotypically, this can be implemented as an alternate for primary hepatocytes in studies such as viral isolation from patient serum.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Differentiation / analysis
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gels*
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatocytes / chemistry
  • Hepatocytes / physiology*
  • Hepatocytes / virology*
  • Humans
  • Tissue Scaffolds*
  • Virus Replication*


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Gels