A technique to produce transplantable livers in the laborato
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Researchers have developed a technique to reconstruct and produce livers in the laboratory. The study was reported in an article published in Materials Science and Engineering: C.

"The plan is to produce human livers in the laboratory to scale. This will avoid having to wait a long time for a compatible donor and reduce the risk of rejection of the transplanted organ," said the author.

The methodology is based on decellularization and recellularization, tissue bioengineering techniques developed in recent years to produce organs for transplantation. An organ from a deceased donor, in this case, the liver, is treated with various solutions containing detergents or enzymes to remove all the cells from the tissue, leaving only the extracellular matrix with the organ's original structure and shape. The extracellular matrix is then seeded with cells taken from the patient. The technique avoids immune system reactions and the risk of rejection in the long term.

The decellularization process, however, removes the main components of the extracellular matrix. This weakens cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix and compromises recellularization. To overcome this, the researchers enhanced the technique by introducing an extra stage between decellularization and recellularization.

After isolating and decellularizing rat livers, they injected into the extracellular matrix a solution rich in molecules such as SPARC and TGFB1, proteins produced by liver cells grown in a laboratory in a conditioned medium. These proteins are essential to a healthy liver as they tell liver cells to proliferate and form blood vessels.

The technique can be adapted to produce other organs, such as lungs, hearts, and skin, the author added.

Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2020.111862