Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers


This paper presents a novel liver model that mimics the liver sinusoid where most liver activities occur. A key aspect of our current liver model is a layered co-culture of primary rat hepatocytes (PRHs) and primary rat liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) or bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs) on a transwell membrane. When a layered co-culture was attempted with a thin Matrigel layer placed between hepatocytes and endothelial cells to mimic the space of Disse, the cells did not form completely separated monolayers. However, when hepatocytes and endothelial cells were cultured on the opposite sides of a transwell membrane, PRHs co-cultured with LSECs or BAECs maintained their viability and normal morphology for 39 and 57 days, respectively. We assessed the presence of hepatocyte-specific differentiation markers to verify that PRHs remained differentiated in the long-term co-culture and analyzed hepatocyte function by monitoring urea synthesis. We also noted that the expression of cytochrome P-450 remained similar in the co-cultured system from day 1 to day 48. Thus, our novel liver model system demonstrated that primary hepatocytes can be cultured for extended times and retain their hepatocyte-specific functions when layered with endothelial cells.


Liver model, Liver co-culture, Microchannel, Primary Rat Hepatocytes, Liver sinusoidal endothelial cell, Transwell

First Page


Last Page





Originally published in The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2013. Pages 85-92. Conference Paper.

Included in

Engineering Commons