Investigating Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Tissue Engineering and Hepatotoxicity Applications

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Virginia Tech


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be differentiated into multiple cell types in the body while maintaining proliferative capabilities. The generation of human iPSC-derived hepatocytes (iPSC-Heps) has resulted in a new source for hepatic cells. The current available options for human hepatocytes are primary human hepatocytes (PHHs) and cell lines. PHHs isolated from healthy human donors are difficult to obtain, while cell lines exhibit reduced hepatotoxic sensitivity. iPSC-Heps are being investigated as an alternative option as they are derived from a continuous, stable source and are able to maintain their original donor genotype, which opens the door for patient-specific studies. iPSC-Heps show promise for utilization in tissue engineering, hepatotoxicity studies as well as screening for patient-specific therapeutics. Various reports have concluded that iPSC-Heps exhibit reduced hepatocyte function in comparison to PHHs. Prior reports on iPSC-Heps have focused on improving their adult phenotype functions through variations in differentiation protocols or by altering their in vitro culturing environment. This thesis focuses on incorporating hepatic non-parenchymal cells to more closely mimic the tissue and cell architecture found in the liver tissue. We designed and assembled a 3D iPSC-Hep model that integrates liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, with the goal of achieving functional maturity. Hepatotoxicants were administered to our models and various hepatic markers were measured to analyze the toxic response. This work demonstrates the need for the inclusion of hepatic non-parenchymal cells in iPSC-derived liver tissues, specifically for hepatotoxicity applications.



induced pluripotent stem cell, hepatocytes, toxicity, organotypic in vitro models