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Cellulose Nanofibril Hydrogel Promotes Hepatic Differentiation of Human Liver Organoids

Read the full article here: Adv. Healthcare Mater. 2020, 9, 1901658.

To replicate functional liver tissue in vitro for drug testing or transplantation, 3D tissue engineering requires representative cell models as well as scaffolds that not only promote tissue production but also are applicable in a clinical setting. Recently, adult liver‐derived liver organoids are found to be of much interest due to their genetic stability, expansion potential, and ability to differentiate toward a hepatocyte‐like fate. The current standard for culturing these organoids is a basement membrane hydrogel like Matrigel (MG), which is derived from murine tumor material and apart from its variability and high costs, possesses an undefined composition and is therefore not clinically applicable. Here, a cellulose nanofibril (CNF) hydrogel is investigated with regard to its potential to serve as an alternative clinical grade scaffold to differentiate liver organoids. The results show that its mechanical properties are suitable for differentiation with overall, either equal or improved, functionality of the hepatocyte‐like cells compared to MG. Therefore, and because of its defined and tunable chemical definition, the CNF hydrogel presents a viable alternative to MG for liver tissue engineering with the option for clinical use.

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