Decellularization of tissues or organs can provide an efficient strategy for preparing functional scaffolds for tissue engineering. Microstructures of native extracellular matrices and their biochemical compositions can be retained in the decellularized matrices, providing tissue-specific microenvironments for efficient tissue regeneration. Here, we report the versatility of liver extracellular matrix (LEM) that can be used for two-dimensional (2D) coating and three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel platforms for culture and transplantation of primary hepatocytes. Collagen type I (Col I) has typically been used for hepatocyte culture and transplantation. In this study, LEM was compared with Col I in terms of biophysical and mechanical characteristics and biological performance for enhancing cell viability, differentiation, and hepatic functions. Surface properties of LEM coating and mechanical properties and gelation kinetics of LEM hydrogel could be manipulated by adjusting the LEM concentration. In addition, LEM hydrogel exhibited improved elastic properties, rapid gelation, and volume maintenance compared to Col I hydrogel. LEM coating significantly improved hepatocyte functions such as albumin secretion and urea synthesis. More interestingly, LEM coating upregulated hepatic gene expression of human adipose-derived stem cells, indicating enhanced hepatic differentiation of these stem cells. The viability and hepatic functions of primary hepatocytes were also significantly improved in LEM hydrogel compared to Col I hydrogel both in vitro and in vivo. Albumin and hepatocyte transcription factor expression was upregulated in hepatocytes transplanted in LEM hydrogels. In conclusion, LEM can provide functional biomaterial platforms for diverse applications in liver tissue engineering by promoting survival and maturation of hepatocytes and hepatic commitment of stem cells. This study demonstrates the feasibility of decellularized matrix for both 2D coating and 3D hydrogel in liver tissue engineering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry