The importance of transporters and cell polarization for the evaluation of human stem cell-derived hepatic cells

Autoři: György Török aff001;  Zsuzsa Erdei aff001;  Julianna Lilienberg aff001;  Ágota Apáti aff001;  László Homolya aff001
Působiště autorů: Molecular Cell Biology Research Group, Institute of Enzymology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence, Budapest, Hungary aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article


One of the most promising applications of human pluripotent stem cells is their utilization for human-based pharmacological models. Despite the fact that membrane transporters expressed in the liver play pivotal role in various hepatic functions, thus far only little attention was devoted to the membrane transporter composition of the stem cell-derived liver models. In the present work, we have differentiated HUES9, a human embryonic stem cell line, toward the hepatic lineage, and monitored the expression levels of numerous differentiation marker and liver transporter genes with special focus on ABC transporters. In addition, the effect of bile acid treatment and polarizing culturing conditions on hepatic maturation has been assessed. We found that most transporter genes crucial for hepatic functions are markedly induced during hepatic differentiation; however, as regards the transporter composition the end-stage cells still exhibited dual, hepatocyte and cholangiocyte character. Although the bile acid treatment and sandwich culturing only slightly influenced the gene expressions, the stimulated cell polarization resulted in formation of bile canaliculi and proper localization of transporters. Our results point to the importance of membrane transporters in human stem cell-derived hepatic models and demonstrate the relevance of cell polarization in generation of applicable cellular models with correctly localized transporters. On the basis of our observations we suggest that conventional criteria for the evaluation of the quality of stem cell-derived hepatocyte-like cells ought to be augmented with additional elements, such as polarized and functional expression of hepatic transporters.

Klíčová slova:

Albumins – Bile – Cell differentiation – Gene expression – Hepatocytes – Pluripotency – Secretion – Stem cells


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