The availability of cryopreserved hepatocytes is required for a more widespread use of hepatocyte transplantation, but human hepatocytes are easily damaged during freezing-thawing. Here, preincubation with unconjugated bilirubin, a physiological antioxidant, resulted in increased viability and function of hepatocytes (as determined by trypan blue exclusion, mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenases activity, urea synthesis, and cytochrome P450 1A/2) compared with cells incubated without the pigment. These findings suggest that unconjugated bilirubin may be used as cryoprotectant in clinical hepatocyte transplantation.
*Laboratory of Medicine, Ospedale Bambino Gesù, Rome, Italy
†King's College London School of Medicine at King's College Hospital, Institute of Liver Studies, London, UK.
Received 29 April, 2009
Accepted 18 November, 2009
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof Maurizio Muraca, MD, PhD, IRCCS Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Piazza Sant'Onofrio 4, 00165 Rome, Italy (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The study was supported by the “Consorzio per la Ricerca sulle Cellule Staminali,” Milan, Italy, and King's College Hospital Charitable Trust.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.