Hepatocyte organoids and cell transplantation: What the future holds: What the future holds

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Historically, primary hepatocytes have been difficult to expand or maintain in vitro. In this review, we will focus on recent advances in establishing hepatocyte organoids and their potential applications in regenerative medicine. First, we provide a background on the renewal of hepatocytes in the homeostatic as well as the injured liver. Next, we describe strategies for establishing primary hepatocyte organoids derived from either adult or fetal liver based on insights from signaling pathways regulating hepatocyte renewal in vivo. The characteristics of these organoids will be described herein. Notably, hepatocyte organoids can adopt either a proliferative or a metabolic state, depending on the culture conditions. Furthermore, the metabolic gene expression profile can be modulated based on the principles that govern liver zonation. Finally, we discuss the suitability of cell replacement therapy to treat different types of liver diseases and the current state of cell transplantation of in vitro-expanded hepatocytes in mouse models. In addition, we provide insights into how the regenerative microenvironment in the injured host liver may facilitate donor hepatocyte repopulation. In summary, transplantation of in vitro-expanded hepatocytes holds great potential for large-scale clinical application to treat liver diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1512-1528
Number of pages17
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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