In Vitro and Ex Vivo Models to Study T Cell Migration Through the Human Liver Parenchyma

Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1591:195-214. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6931-9_14.


The liver is the largest internal organ and filters around 3 pints of blood per minute. This continuous flux of blood should not be confused with rapid egress of lymphocytes through the liver; this organ has intricate corridors of specialized sinusoidal spaces, ensuring that immune cells decelerate to shear flow rates, and providing ample opportunities to interact with parenchymal cells. Migration has been intricately linked to T cell function; it is therefore important to study liver T cell biology into context within the liver microenvironment. Here we discuss the highly organized architecture of liver-resident cells (sinusoidal endothelia, Kupffer cells, stellate cells/myofibroblasts, and biliary and hepatic epithelia) and showcase basic, multicellular, and complex systems to model T cell migration through the human liver microenvironment in vitro and ex vivo.

Keywords: Adhesion; Cell culture; Coculture; Cytokines; Inflammation; Liver; Liver wedge; Lymphocytes; Migration; Perfusion; Peristaltic pump; T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement / immunology*
  • Cellular Microenvironment / immunology
  • Endothelium / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / immunology
  • Humans
  • Kupffer Cells / immunology
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Myofibroblasts / immunology
  • Parenchymal Tissue / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*