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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 1078547, 13 pages
Research Article

Beneficial Effects of Human Mesenchymal Stromal Cells on Porcine Hepatocyte Viability and Albumin Secretion

1Department of Surgery, Geneva University Hospitals and Medical Faculty, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
2Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
3University Centre of Legal Medicine, Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, Lausanne, Switzerland

Correspondence should be addressed to Leo H. Buhler

Received 30 June 2017; Revised 18 October 2017; Accepted 1 November 2017; Published 11 January 2018

Academic Editor: Laura Iop

Copyright © 2018 Elisa Montanari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Porcine hepatocytes transplanted during acute liver failure might support metabolic functions until the diseased liver recovers its function. Here, we isolated high numbers of viable pig hepatocytes and evaluated hepatocyte functionality after encapsulation. We further investigated whether coculture and coencapsulation of hepatocytes with human multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are beneficial on hepatocyte function. Livers from 10 kg pigs () were harvested, and hepatocytes were isolated from liver suspensions for microencapsulation using alginate and poly(ethylene-glycol)- (PEG-) grafted alginate hydrogels, either alone or in combination with MSC. Viability, albumin secretion, and diazepam catabolism of hepatocytes were measured for one week. 9.2 ± 3.6 × 109 hepatocytes with 95.2 ± 3.1% viability were obtained after isolation. At day 3, free hepatocytes displayed 99% viability, whereas microencapsulation in alginate and PEG-grafted alginate decreased viability to 62% and 48%, respectively. Albumin secretion and diazepam catabolism occurred in free and microencapsulated hepatocytes. Coencapsulation of hepatocytes with MSC significantly improved viability and albumin secretion at days 4 and 8 (). Coculture with MSC significantly increased and prolonged albumin secretion. In conclusion, we established a protocol for isolation and microencapsulation of high numbers of viable pig hepatocytes and demonstrated that the presence of MSC is beneficial for the viability and function of porcine hepatocytes.