Background: Human liver cell lines, like HepaRG and C3A, acquire higher functionality when cultured in the AMC-Bio-Artificial Liver (AMC-BAL). The three main differences between BAL and monolayer culture are the oxygenation (40% vs 20%O2), dynamic vs absent medium perfusion and 3D vs 2D configuration. Here, we investigated the background of the differences between BAL-cultures and monolayers.
Methods: We performed whole-genome microarray analysis on HepaRG monolayer and BAL-cultures. Next, mitochondrial biogenesis was studied in monolayer and BAL-cultures of HepaRG and C3A. The driving forces for mitochondrial biogenesis by BAL-culturing were investigated in representative culture models differing in oxygenation level, medium flow or 2D vs 3D configuration.
Results: Gene-sets related to mitochondrial energy metabolism were most prominently up-regulated in HepaRG-BAL vs monolayer cultures. This was confirmed by a 2.4-fold higher mitochondrial abundance with increased expression of mitochondrial OxPhos complexes. Moreover, the transcript levels of mitochondria-encoded genes were up to 3.6-fold induced and mitochondrial membrane potential activity was 8.3-fold increased in BAL vs monolayers. Culturing with 40% O2, dynamic medium flow and/or in 3D increased the mitochondrial abundance and expression of mitochondrial complexes vs standard monolayer culturing. The stimulatory effect of the BAL culture on mitochondrial biogenesis was confirmed in C3A cells in which mitochondrial abundance increased 2.2-fold with induction of mitochondria-encoded genes.
Conclusions and general significance: The increased functionality of liver cell lines upon AMC-BAL culturing is associated with increased mitochondrial biogenesis. High oxygenation, medium perfusion and 3D configuration contribute to the up-regulation of the mitochondrial biogenesis.
Keywords: Bio-artificial liver; C3A; HepaRG; Hepatocyte; Mitochondrial biogenesis.
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