Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, Vol.105, No.3, 226-231, 2008
The mixed coculture effect of primary rat hepatocytes and bone marrow cells is caused by soluble factors derived from bone marrow cells
Heterospheroids consisting of hepatocytes and bone marrow cells (BMCs) are formed by the mixed coculture of these cells and enhance the expression and maintenance of the liver-specific functions of hepatocytes. Not only the soluble factors derived from these cells, but also functional organoid (heterospheroid) formation, are considered to underlie this coculture effect. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to clarify the mechanism of this co-culture effect. We performed hepatocyte monoculture with conditioned media prepared from hepatocyte cultures, BMC cultures and a coculture of hepatocytes and BMCs. When using any type of conditioned medium, no hepatocyte spheroids formed, and the hepatocytes formed a monolayer. In addition, an effect for these conditioned media was shown in terms of the albumin production and ammonia metabolism activities of the hepatocytes; conditioned medium from BMCs showed the strongest effect. The monocultured hepatocytes in the conditioned medium derived from BMCs showed equivalent albumin production and ammonia metabolism activities to the cocultured spheroids of hepatocytes and BMCs. Therefore, it was determined that the effect of the coculture of hepatocytes and BMCs was caused by soluble factors derived from BMCs.