MORPHOLOGY AND FUNCTION OF ISOLATED HEPATOCYTES TRANSPLANTED INTO RAT SPLEEN

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Abstract

SUMMARY

Hepatocytes isolated by the collagenase digestive method were transplanted into the spleens of syngeneic rats. Morphology and function of the hepatocytes in the spleen were investigated for 12 to 17 months after transplantation. The transplanted hepatocytes proliferated and reconfigured in the spleen without direct perfusion of portal venous blood and with the presence of an intact host liver. Fourteen to 17 months after transplantation, the hepatocytes which had formed a demarcated nodule occupied approximately 40% of the area of the splenic parenchyma without undifferentiation on microscopic examination. However, the weight of the hepatized spleen did not increase beyond the weight of a normal spleen and the weight of the host liver that had normal morphology also did not differ from a normal liver. Light and electron microscopic studies demonstrated differentiated cord structure and normal architecture for each heptocyte. Furthermore, the hepatized spleen synthesized albumin and glycogen as demonstrated by immunofluorescence and histochemical studies. Ammonia tolerance and indocyanine green clearance tests revealed functioning hepatocytes in the spleen proper. These results indicate that our experimental model lends itself well to investigations in cell growth mechanism and that hepatocellular transplantation has potential clinical application to compensate for impaired hepatic function.

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