To use cultured human hepatocytes as a hybrid artificial liver, effective methods for isolating and culturing the hepatocytes from resected surgical specimens were investigated. Two different procedures for isolating hepatocytes, perfusion and agitation with a collagenase solution (Method 1) and perfusion with a mixed solution of collagenase and dispase (Method 2), were examined. The yield of isolated hepatocytes obtained by Method 2 (13.31 x 10(6) cells/g of liver) was significantly higher than that by Method 1 (0.94 x 10(6)). The warm ischemia time (0-90 min) of the liver fragments obtained did not disturb the viability and yield of the isolated hepatocytes. The gluconeogenesis and urea synthesis of the cultured human hepatocytes were well preserved for 10 days. These results show that for prolonged human hepatocyte culture (10 days), isolation from resected human liver tissues by a combination of the proteolytic enzymes collagenase and dispase was effective and warm ischemia was tolerated for up to 90 min, which indicates the possibility of using cultured human hepatocytes as a hybrid artificial liver.