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      Cell sources for in vitro human liver cell culture models

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          Abstract

          In vitro liver cell culture models are gaining increasing importance in pharmacological and toxicological research. The source of cells used is critical for the relevance and the predictive value of such models. Primary human hepatocytes (PHH) are currently considered to be the gold standard for hepatic in vitro culture models, since they directly reflect the specific metabolism and functionality of the human liver; however, the scarcity and difficult logistics of PHH have driven researchers to explore alternative cell sources, including liver cell lines and pluripotent stem cells. Liver cell lines generated from hepatomas or by genetic manipulation are widely used due to their good availability, but they are generally altered in certain metabolic functions. For the past few years, adult and pluripotent stem cells have been attracting increasing attention, due their ability to proliferate and to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells in vitro. However, controlling the differentiation of these cells is still a challenge. This review gives an overview of the major human cell sources under investigation for in vitro liver cell culture models, including primary human liver cells, liver cell lines, and stem cells. The promises and challenges of different cell types are discussed with a focus on the complex 2D and 3D culture approaches under investigation for improving liver cell functionality in vitro. Finally, the specific application options of individual cell sources in pharmacological research or disease modeling are described.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Exp Biol Med (Maywood)
          Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood)
          EBM
          spebm
          Experimental Biology and Medicine
          SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
          1535-3702
          1535-3699
          05 July 2016
          September 2016
          : 241
          : 15
          : 1684-1698
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany
          [2 ]Department of General-, Visceral- and Transplantation Surgery, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany
          Author notes
          Katrin Zeilinger. Email: katrin.zeilinger@ 123456charite.de
          Article
          PMC4999620 PMC4999620 4999620 10.1177_1535370216657448
          10.1177/1535370216657448
          4999620
          27385595
          © 2016 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
          Categories
          Pharmacology & Toxicology

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