Lab on a chip-based hepatic sinusoidal system simulator for optimal primary hepatocyte culture

Yoon Young Choi, Jaehyung Kim, Sang Hoon Lee, Dong Sik Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Primary hepatocyte cultures have been used in studies on liver disease, physiology, and pharmacology. While they are an important tool for in vitro liver studies, maintaining liver-specific characteristics of hepatocytes in vitro is difficult, as these cells rapidly lose their unique characteristics and functions. Portal flow is an important condition to preserve primary hepatocyte functions and liver regeneration in vivo. We have developed a microfluidic chip that does not require bulky peripheral devices or an external power source to investigate the relationship between hepatocyte functional maintenance and flow rates. In our culture system, two types of microfluidic devices were used as scaffolds: a monolayer- and a concave chamber-based device. Under flow conditions, our chips improved albumin and urea secretion rates after 13 days compared to that of the static chips. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that hepatocyte-specific gene expression was significantly higher at 13 days under flow conditions than when using static chips. For both two-dimensional and three-dimensional culture on the chips, flow resulted in the best performance of the hepatocyte culture in vitro. We demonstrated that flow improves the viability and efficiency of long-term culture of primary hepatocytes and plays a key role in hepatocyte function. These results suggest that this flow system has the potential for long-term hepatocyte cultures as well as a technique for three-dimensional culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (2014R1A1A1A05006371).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Hepatocyte
  • Microfluidic
  • Shear stress
  • Spheroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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