The mesentery as a laminated vascular bed for hepatocyte transplantation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Cell Transplantation








Cell transplantation; Hepatocyte; Liver cell; Mesentery


The small bowel mesentery provides a unique structure of a large vascularized surface area to support hepatocyte transplantation. Cell-seeded polymeric matrices can be juxtaposed in a relatively atraumatic manner between leaves of mesentery such that adequate exchange of nutrients and diffusion of gases can proceed in the interim while neovascularization occurs. Hepatocytes obtained from (RHA) Wistar rats by collagenase perfusion were seeded onto non-woven filamentous sheets of polyglycolic acid 1 × 3 cm in size and 2 mm thickness to a density of 500,000 cells/cm2. Twenty-six recipient Gunn rats (UDP-glucuronyl transferase deficient) underwent laparotomy. Hepatocyte-ladened polymer sheets were placed between leaves of mesentery. Eight sheets were placed per animal and the leaves were approximated, creating a functional implant 1 × 3 × 2 cm. Biopsies between 5-99 days after implantation revealed neovascularization, moderate inflammatory reaction and the presence of viable hepatocytes in 96% ( 25 26). Immunoperoxidase studies using anti-albumin antibody substantiated hepatocyte specific function in implants. HPLC profiles of bile from Gunn rats transplanted with hepatocytes from congeneic (RHA) rats demonstrated the presence of bilirubin conjugates. There were no conjugation fractions seen in control gunn rats without hepatocyte transplantation. Although total serum bilirubin did not significantly decrease, conjugated bilirubin was identified in 46% ( 12 26) animals after transplantation with congeneic hepatocytes. We conclude that the mesentery of the small bowel provides a large vascularized surface for cell transplantation. Large numbers of metabolically active hepatocytes can engraft, vascularize, and show function. The mesentery may be a potential bed for clinical hepatocyte transplantation. © 1994.

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