Title:
Novel Cellular Compositions and Methods for Their Preparation
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to novel cell (e.g., hepatocyte, etc.) compositions and methods for their preparation and use. In particular, the invention concerns methods of processing preparations of such cells so as to permit their repeated cryopreservation and thawing while retaining substantial viability. The invention also concerns preparations of cells (e.g., hepatocytes) that have been repeatedly cryopreserved and thawed.



Inventors:
Dryden, Daniel (Westminster, MD, US)
Hardy, James (Ijamsville, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/568346
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
09/28/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01N1/02; C12N5/071
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
POPA, ILEANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOEB & LOEB, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation comprising hepatocytes that have been frozen and thawed at least two times, wherein greater than 50% about 70% of the hepatocytes of said preparation are viable after the final thaw without requiring a density gradient step after thawing the hepatocytes for the second time, wherein the hepatocytes are not plated between the first and second cryopreservations.

2. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 1, wherein said hepatocytes are selected from the group consisting of human hepatocytes, porcine hepatocytes, simian hepatocytes, canine hepatocytes, feline hepatocytes, bovine hepatocytes, equine hepatocytes, ovine hepatocytes and rodent hepatocytes.

3. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 2, wherein said hepatocytes are human hepatocytes.

4. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 2, wherein said preparation comprises a pooled preparation of hepatocytes of multiple sources.

5. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 4, wherein said multiple sources are of the same gender, race, or health state.

6. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 4, wherein the hepatocytes of said pooled preparation of hepatocytes provide said pooled preparation with a desired level of a metabolic activity.

7. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 6, wherein said metabolic activity is selected from the group consisting of coumarin 7-hydroxylase (COUM), dextromethorphan O-demethylase (DEX), 7-ethoxycourmarin O-deethylase (ECOD), activities responsible for the phase II metabolism of 7-hydroxycoumarin (7-HCG and 7-HCS), mephenyloin 4-hydroxylase (MEPH), testosterone 6(β)-hydroxylase (TEST), tolbutamide 4-hydroxylase (TOLB), phenacetin O-deethylase (PHEN), and chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylase (CZX).

8. (canceled)

9. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 1, wherein greater than about 80% of the hepatocytes of said preparation are viable.

10. (canceled)

11. (canceled)

12. (canceled)

13. (canceled)

14. (canceled)

15. (canceled)

16. (canceled)

17. (canceled)

18. (canceled)

19. (canceled)

20. (canceled)

21. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 4, wherein said multiple sources are of different gender, race, or health state.

22. The multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation of claim 6, wherein said multiple sources are selected based upon metabolic activity, and wherein the pooled preparation exhibits a desired level of one or more metabolic activities.

Description:

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/110,879, filed Apr. 21, 2005, which application is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to novel cell (e.g., hepatocyte, etc.) compositions and methods for their preparation and use. In particular, the invention concerns methods of processing preparations of such cells so as to permit their repeated cryopreservation and thawing while retaining substantial viability. The invention also concerns preparations of cells (e.g., hepatocytes) that have been repeatedly cryopreserved and thawed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Hepatocytes are parenchymal liver cells, and make up 60-80% of the cytoplasmic mass of the liver. Hepatocytes play a key role in the detoxification, modification and excretion of exogenous and endogenous substances (Ponsoda, X. et al. (2004) “Drug Metabolism By Cultured Human Hepatocytes: How Far Are We From The In Vivo Reality?” Ahern. Lab Anim. 32(2):101-110). One of the detoxifying functions of hepatocytes is to modify ammonia to urea for excretion. They are also important in protein synthesis and storage, in the transformation of carbohydrates and in the synthesis of cholesterol, bile salts and phospholipids (Postic, C. et al. (2004) “Role Of The Liver In The Control Of Carbohydrate And Lipid Homeostasis,” Diabetes Metab. 30(5):398-408). The hepatocyte is the only cell in the body that manufactures albumin, fibrinogen, and the prothrombin group of clotting factors. It is the main site for the synthesis of lipoproteins, ceruloplasmin, transferrin, and glycoproteins. Hepatocytes manufactures their own structural proteins and intracellular enzymes. Hepatocytes are also important depots for vitamin B12 and iron.

Due to these attributes, isolated and cultured hepatocytes have become very attractive as models systems for the study of liver functions (Chesne, C. et al. (1993) “Viability And Function In Primary Culture Of Adult Hepatocytes From Various Animal Species And Human Beings After Cryopreservation,” Hepatology 18(2):406-414; Guillouzo, A. et al. (1986) “Isolated and Cultured Hepatocytes,” Paris: les Editions INSERM and London: John Libbey Eurotext); Ponsoda. X. et al. (2004) “Drug Metabolism By Cultured Human Hepatocytes: How Far Are We From The In Vivo Reality?” Ahern. Lab Anim. 32(2):101-110; Gomez-Lechon, M. J. et al. (2004) “Human Hepatocytes In Primary Culture: The Choice To Investigate Drug Metabolism In Man,” Curr. Drug Metab. 5(5):443-462; Lemaigre, F. et al. (2004) “Liver Development Update: New Embryo Models, Cell Lineage Control, And Morphogenesis,” Curr Opin Genet Dev. 14(5):582-590; Nanji, A. A. (2004) “Animal Models Of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease And Steatohepatitis,” Clin Liver Dis. 8(3):559-574; Hewitt, N. J. et al. (2004) Cryopreserved Rat, Dog And Monkey Hepatocytes: Measurement Of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes In Suspensions And Cultures.” Hum Exp Toxicol. 23(6):307-316).

In addition to their use in liver models, hepatocytes have the potential of being used to produce Bioartificial Livers (BALs) or in hepatocyte transplantation that can provide liver functions for individuals suffering from liver disease or liver failure. Bioartificial Livers (BALs) are described by Anand, A. C. (1996) “Bioartificial Livers: The State Of The Art,” Trop Gastroenterol. 17(4):197-198, 202-211; Gan. J. H. et al. (2005) “Hybrid Artificial Liver Support System For Treatment Of Severe Liver Failure,” World J. Gastroenterol. 11(6):890-894; Fukuda, J. et al. (2004) “Hepatocyte Organoid Culture In Elliptic Hollow Fibers To Develop A Hybrid Artificial Liver,” Int J Artif Organs. 27(12):1091-1099; Meng, Q. et al. (2004) “Hepatocyte Culture In Bioartificial Livers With Different Membrane Characteristics,” Biotechnol Lett. 26(18):1407-1412; Sekido, H. et al. (2004) “Usefulness Of Artificial Liver Support For Pretransplant Patients With Fulminant Hepatic Failure,” Transplant Proc. 36(8):2355-2356; WO 03/105663A2, WO05/000376A2, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,759,245. Hepatocyte transplantation is described by Chan, C. et al. (2004) “Hepatic Tissue Engineering For Adjunct And Temporary Liver Support: Critical Technologies,” Liver Transpl. 10(11): 1331-1342; Lee, S. W. et al. (2004) “Hepatocyte Transplantation: State Of The Art And Strategies For Overcoming Existing Hurdles,” Ann. Hepatol. 3(2):48-53; Horslen, S. P. (2004) “Hepatocyte Transplantation,” Transplantation 77(10): 1481-1486; Burlina, A. B. (2004) “Hepatocyte Transplantation For Inborn Errors Of Metabolism,” J. Inherit. Metab. Dis. 27(3):373-83; and Fox, I. J. et al. (2004) “Hepatocyte Transplantation,” Am. J. Transplant. 4 Suppl. 6:7-13.

A limiting factor in the development of such model systems and to the development of Bioartificial Livers (BALs) has been the erratic source and limited availability of hepatocytes, especially human hepatocytes. Fresh hepatocytes are obtainable only from liver resections or non-transplantable livers of multi-organ donors (Lloyd, T. D. R. et al. (2003) Cryopreservation Of Hepatocytes: A Review Of Current Methods For Banking,” Cell and Tissue Culture Banking 4:3-15). The supply of such tissue is inconsistent and often geographically inconvenient in light of the limited functional lifespan of liver tissue (Smrzova, J. et al. (2001) “Optimization Of Porcine Hepatocytes Cryopreservation By Comparison Of Viability And Enzymatic Activity Of Fresh And Cryopreserved Cells,” Acta Veterinaria Brunensis 70:141-147).

One approach to addressing this problem has involved the development of hepatocyte storage conditions that allow hepatocytes to be maintained over time with their cellular functions preserved. Cryopreservation methods for the storage of hepatocytes have been developed to address this need (see, Lloyd, T. D. R. et al. (2003) Cryopreservation Of Hepatocytes: A Review Of Current Methods For Banking,” Cell and Tissue Culture Banking 4:3-15; Loretz, L. J. et al. (1989) “Optimization Of Cryopreservation Procedures For Rat And Human Hepatocytes,” Xenobiotica. 19(5):489-498; Shaddock, J. G. et al. (1993) “Cryopreservation And Long-Term Storage Of Primary Rat Hepatocytes: Effects On Substrate-Specific Cytochrome P450-Dependent Activities And Unscheduled DNA Synthesis,” Cell Biol Toxicol. 9(4):345-357; Novicki, D. L. et al. (1982) “Cryopreservation Of structural proteins and intracellular enzymes. Hepatocytes are also important depots for vitamin B12 and iron. Isolated Rat Hepatocytes,” In Vitro. 18(4):393-399; Zaleski, J. et al. (1993) “Preservation Of The Rate And Profile Of Xenobiotic Metabolism In Rat Hepatocytes Stored In Liquid Nitrogen,” Biochem Pharmacol. 46(1):111-116). Typically, such measures comprise storage in liquid nitrogen (−196° C.) or in frozen nitrogen gas (−150° C.). The ability to recover viable thawed cells has been found to depend on multiple factors such as the rate of freezing, the concentration of hepatocytes, the type of cryoprotectant employed, and the final cooling temperature. Cell concentrations of 106-107 cells/ml have been typically employed. The isolated hepatocytes are typically incubated in suspension for a period (e.g., 4-48 hours) to allow them to recover from the isolation process. Thereafter, a cryoprotectant (such as glycerol, DMSO, polyvinylpyrrolodine polyvinylpyrrolidone, or dextrin) is added, and the hepatocytes are frozen. The art has developed various freezing procedures, all designed to minimize or prevent the occurrence of intracellular ice. The freezing rates typically vary from −0.05° C./min to −50° C./min (see, Lloyd, T. D. R. et al. (2003) Cryopreservation Of Hepatocytes: A Review Of Current Methods For Banking,” Cell and Tissue Culture Banking 4:3-15).

While the development of cryopreservation methods for the storage of hepatocytes has significantly facilitated the availability of human hepatocytes, cryopreservation has been found to cause a significant decrease in cellular viability (e.g., 25-35%) (Dou, M. et al. (1992) “Thawed Human Hepatocytes In Primary Culture,” Cryobiology 29:454-469; Alexandre, E. et al. (2002) “Cryopreservation Of Adult Human Hepatocytes Obtained From Resected Liver Biopsies,” Cryobiology 44:103-113). Coundouris, J. A. et al. (1993) reported viability of 67% after 24 hours, declining to 49% after 14 days (Coundouris, J. A. et al. (1993) “Cryopreservation Of Human Adult Hepatocytes For Use In Drug Metabolism And Toxicity Studies.” Xenobiotica. 23(12):1399-1409). Adams, R. M. et al. have reported that the viability of hepatocytes may be enhanced to greater than 90% using specialized cyropreservation fluids, however, only 16% of cells were found to be capable of replication (Adams, R. M. et al. (1995) “EffectiveCryopreservation And Long-Terns Storage Of Primary Human Hepatocytes With Recovery Of Viability, Differentiation, And Replicative Potential,” Cell Transplant. 4(6):579-586). Methods of cryopreservation are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,795,711, 6,136,525, 5,895,745; International Patent Publications WO04/009766, WO92/12722, WO/0153462, European Patent No. EP0834252B, and United States Patent Applications Publication Nos. US20020039786A1, US20030134418A1. The poor recovery of cells when cryopreserved continues to limit the use of hepatocytes in in vitro liver models.

A second major problem affecting the use of both fresh and cryopreserved hepatocytes is the variation of liver enzyme expression that is observed in tissue from different donors (Li. A. P. et al. (1999) “Present Status Of The Application Of Cryopreserved Hepatocytes In The Evaluation Of Xenobiotics: Consensus Of An International Expert Panel,” Chem Biol Interact. 121(1):117-123; Li, A. P. et al. (1999) “Cryopreserved Human Hepatocytes: Characterization Of Drug-Metabolizing Enzyme Activities And Applications In Higher Throughput Screening Assays For Hepatotoxicity, Metabolic Stability, And Drug-Drug Interaction Potential,” Chem Biol Interact. 121(1):17-35; O′Brien, Z. Z. et al. (undated) “The Construction Of A Representative Human Cryopreserved Hepatocyte Pool For Metabolism Study[[,]].” www.lionscience.com.repository/ISSX-2002.pdf). One solution to this sample variation involves pooling samples from different sources to produce a “composite” hepatocyte preparation having the characteristics of “average” liver cells. However, the frequency of receipt of fresh tissue and the need to cryopreserve hepatocytes immediately after isolation has been cited as preventing the preparation of hepatocyte pools. Thus, multiple companies (e.g., Xenotech, LLC; BD Biosciences) refrain from selling pooled hepatocytes thus forcing the end user to thaw and pool hepatocytes from several different donors. This difficulty remains even though pooled cryopreserved human hepatocytes are a valid model for metabolic studies (Zhang, J. G. et al. (undated) “Validation Of Pooled Cryopreserved Human Hepatocytes As A Model for Metabolic Studies.”(http://www.bdbiosciences.com/discovery_labware/gentest/products/pdf/S04T126.pdf).

Thus, despite all prior advances, a need remains for processes that would enable the availability of hepatocytes for medical research and other purposes. A need further exists for a stable and reproducible source of human hepatocytes. The present invention permits the production and availability of hepatocyte preparations that may be repeatedly cryopreserved and thawed without unacceptable loss of viability. The invention thus permits multiple hepatocyte samples to be pooled to produce pooled hepatocyte preparations, especially pooled cryopreserved human hepatocyte preparations. Using such advance, pooled cryopreserved human hepatocytes are now commercially available from In Vitro Technologies (Baltimore, Md.).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to novel cell (e.g., hepatocyte) compositions and methods for their preparation and use. In particular, the invention concerns methods of processing preparations of cells, especially hepatocytes, so as to permit their repeated cryopreservation and thawing while retaining substantial viability. The invention also concerns preparations of cells (e.g., hepatocytes) that have been repeatedly cryopreserved and thawed.

In detail, the invention particularly concerns a multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation comprising hepatocytes that have been frozen and thawed at least two times, wherein greater than 50% and more preferably 70% or more of the hepatocytes of the preparation are viable.

The invention further concerns the embodiment of such a multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation wherein the hepatocytes are selected from the group consisting of human hepatocytes, porcine hepatocytes, simian hepatocytes, canine hepatocytes, feline hepatocytes, bovine hepatocytes, equine hepatocytes, ovine hepatocytes and rodent hepatocytes.

The invention further concerns the embodiment of such a multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation wherein the preparation comprises a pooled preparation of hepatocytes of multiple sources, which may be of the same or different gender, race, or health state, or which provide the pooled preparation with a desired level of a metabolic activity (especially wherein the metabolic activity is selected from the group consisting of COUM, DEX, ECOD, 7-HCG, 7-HCS, MEPH, TEST, PHEN and CZX).

The invention further concerns a method of producing a desired preparation of multi-cryopreserved hepatocytes, the hepatocytes being capable of being frozen and thawed at least two times, and in which greater than 50% and more preferably 70% or more of the hepatocytes of the preparation are viable, the method comprising:

(A) subjecting hepatocytes that have been frozen and thawed to density gradient fractionation (especially percoll PERCOLL® density centrifugation) to separate viable hepatocytes from non-viable hepatocytes,

(B) recovering the separated viable hepatocytes, and

(C) cryopreserving the recovered viable hepatocytes to thereby form the desired preparation of hepatocytes.

The invention further concerns the embodiment of such a method in which the hepatocytes are selected from the group consisting of human hepatocytes, porcine hepatocytes, simian hepatocytes, canine hepatocytes, feline hepatocytes, bovine hepatocytes, equine hepatocytes, ovine hepatocytes and rodent hepatocytes.

The invention further concerns the embodiment of such a method in which the preparation comprises a pooled preparation of hepatocytes of multiple sources, which may be of the same or different gender, race, or health state, or which provide the pooled preparation with a desired level of a metabolic activity (especially wherein the metabolic activity is selected from the group consisting of COUM, DEX, ECOD, 7-HCG, 7-HCS, MEPH, TEST, PHEN and CZX).

The invention also concerns a method of investigating in vitro drug metabolism comprising incubating hepatocytes of a multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation in the presence of a xenobiotic, and determining the metabolic fate of the xenobiotic, or the effect of the xenobiotic on the hepatocytes or on an enzyme or metabolic activity thereof wherein the hepatocytes have been frozen and thawed at least two times, and wherein greater than 50% and more preferably 70% or more of the hepatocytes of the preparation are viable.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to novel cell compositions and methods for their preparation and use. In particular, the invention concerns methods of processing preparations of cells so as to permit their repeated cryopreservation and thawing while retaining substantial viability. The methods of the present invention are generally applicable to a wide variety of cell types, including hepatocytes, kidney cells, spleen cells, thymus cells, bone marrow cells, stem cells, muscle cells (including cardiac muscle cells), endocrine cells (including pancreatic cells, adrenal cells, thyroid cells, etc.) epidermal cells, endodermal cells, etc. The methods of the present invention are illustrated below with respect to a preferred cell type: hepatocytes.

The invention also concerns preparations of cells, e.g., hepatocytes, that have been repeatedly cryopreserved and thawed to obtain a high viability preparation useful for a variety of experimental, diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The present invention extends the ability of hepatocytes to be cryopreserved and thawed for later use, so as to permit hepatocyte preparations to be repeatedly cryopreserved and thawed without an unacceptable loss of viability.

As used herein, the term “cell preparation” denotes a liquid or frozen composition of cells from one or more sources (e.g., “hepatocyte preparation” denotes a composition of liver cells from one or more sources). The sources may be primary cells that have been dissociated from or isolated from tissue as by resection, biopsy, or from donor organs, or they may be secondary, immortalized or transformed cell cultures. The cells may be derived from any mammalian source, including human, porcine, simian, canine, feline, bovine, equine, ovine or rodent sources. The use of human, porcine or rodent (especially rat) cells is preferred. Preferably, greater than 50% and more preferably 70% or more of the hepatocytes of such preparations will be viable.

As used herein, the term “multi-cryopreserved cell preparation” denotes a cell preparation that has been frozen and then thawed at least two times (e.g., a “multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation” denotes a hepatocyte preparation that has been frozen and then thawed at least two times). Such preparations may have been frozen and thawed three, four, five, or more times.

The term “pooled preparation” denotes a cell (e.g., hepatocyte) preparation in which the cells (e.g., hepatocytes) are derived from two, three, four, five, or more different sources, such as different donors, biopsies, tissue resections from different tissue samples or different tissue sources, or different primary, secondary, immortalized or transformed cell (e.g., hepatocyte) cultures. The cells of such pooled preparations may be randomly selected cell, or may have been selected to provide the pooled preparation with a desired level of one or more metabolic activities (such as for example, a preparation of hepatocytes having a desired level of COUM, DEX, ECOD, 7-HCG, 7-HCS, MEPH, TEST, PHEN and/or CZX activity), or a desired cell characteristic (such as, for example, a preparation of hepatocytes derived from sources of the same gender, age, race (e.g., Caucasian, etc.), or health state (e.g., hepatocytes of hepatitis virus-infected liver, hepatocytes of HIV-1 infected liver, hepatocytes of healthy liver, hepatocytes of cigarette smokers, hepatocytes of individuals suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, or from other diseases or conditions). For example, to obtain a pooled hepatocyte preparation with minimal DEX activity, a pooled preparation could be prepared from Lot. Nos. 067, CEK, ETR, PFM, VTA, or WWM (see, Table III).

In a preferred embodiment, illustrated with respect to hepatocyte cells, the practice of the invention comprises some or all of the following steps: the isolation of hepatocytes, a first cryopreservation of the isolated primary hepatocytes to obtain a first cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation, the thawing of the first cryopreserved hepatocyte preparation to obtain viable hepatocytes, and the reformulation of the thawed viable hepatocytes to permit their further storage and use through repeated cryopreservation and thawing to obtain viable hepatocytes.

The Isolation Of Hepatocytes

Any of a wide variety of methods may be employed or adapted to permit the isolation of the primary hepatocytes used in the present invention. For 30 example, suitable techniques for the isolation of hepatocytes are outlined in Morsiani et al., (1995) “Automated Liver Cell Processing Facilitates Large Scale Isolation And Purification Of Porcine Hepatocytes,” ASAIO Journal 41:155-161 and in Seglen, P. O. (1976) “Preparation Of Isolated Rat Liver Cells,” Meth. Cell Biol. 13:29-83). Specific reference is made to the two-step collagenase digestion procedure described in Li, A. P. et al. (1992) “Isolation And Culturing Of Hepatocytes From Human Liver,” J. Tissue Cult. Meth. 14:139-146.

The hepatocytes may be cultured in any suitable hepatocyte culture medium. By way of illustration and not limitation mention may be made of the following culture media Chee's Essential Media (Hamilton, G. A. et al. (2001) “Effects Of Medium Composition On The Morphology And Function Of Rat Hepatocytes Cultured As Spheroids And Monolayers,” In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 37(10):656-667; Zurlo, J. et al. (1996) “Characterization Of A Primary Hepatocyte Culture System For Toxicological Studies,” In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 32(4):211-220; Arterburn, L. M. et al. (1995) “A Morphological Study Of Differentiated Hepatocytes In Vitro,” Hepatology 22(1):175-187), Modified Eagle Medium (or Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium) (Arikura, J. et al. (2002) “UW Solution: A Promising Tool For Cryopreservation Of Primarily Isolated Rat Hepatocytes,” J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 9(6):742-749; Washizu, J. et al. (2000) “Amino Acid Supplementation Improves Cell-Specific Functions Of The Rat Hepatocytes Exposed To Human Plasma,” Tissue Eng. 6(5):497-504; Iwata, H. et al. (1999) “In Vitro Evaluation Of Metabolic Functions Of A Bioartificial Liver,” ASAID J. 45(4):299-306; Stutenkemper, R. et al. (1992) “The Hepatocyte-Specific Phenotype Of Murine Liver Cells Correlates With High Expression Of Connexin32 And Connexin26 But Very Low Expression Of Connexin43,” Exp Cell Res. 201(1):43-54), Leibowitz medium (Coundouris, J. A. et al. (1993) “Cryopreservation Of Human Adult Hepatocytes For Use In Drug Metabolism And Toxicity Studies,” Xenobiotica. 23(12):1399-1409), Waymouth (Vind, C. et al. (1992) “Regulation By Growth Hormone And Glucocorticoid Of Testosterone Metabolism In Long-Term Cultures Of Hepatocytes From Male And Female Rats,” Biochem Pharmacol. 44(8):1523-1528; Nemoto, N. et al. (1991) “Proline Is Required For Transcriptional Control Of The Aromatic Hydrocarbon Inducible P(1)450 Gene In C57BL16 Mouse Monolayer-Cultured Hepatocytes,” Jpn J Cancer Res. 82(8):901-908; Dich, J. et al. (1988) “Long-Term Culture Of Hepatocytes: Effect Of Hormones On Enzyme Activities And Metabolic Capacity,” Hepatology. 8(1):39-45; Goethals, F. et al. (1984) “Critical Biochemical Functions Of Isolated Hepatocytes As Sensitive Indicators Of Chemical Toxicity,” Fundam Appl Toxicol. 4(3 Pt 1):441-450), Kreb's medium (House, J. D. (2001) “Threonine Metabolism In Isolated Rat Hepatocytes,” Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 281(6):E1300-1307; Irvine, F. et al. (1993) “Extracellular Calcium Modulates Insulin's Action On Enzymes Controlling Cyclic AMP Metabolism In Intact Hepatocytes,” Biochem J. 293 (Pt 1):249-253; Marsh, D. C. et al. (1991) “Hypothermic Preservation Of Hepatocytes. III. Effects Of Resuspension Media On Viability After Up To 7 Days Of Storage,” Hepatology 13(3):500-508), etc.

In a preferred embodiment, hepatocytes are cryopreserved in a medium containing approximately 10% DMSO and approximately 90% fetal bovine serum (Loretz, L. J. et al. (1989) “Optimization Of Cryopreservation Procedures For Rat And Human Hepatocytes,” Xenobiotica 19:489-498; Ruegg, C. E. et al. (1997) “Cytochrome-P450 Induction and Conjugated Metabolism In Primary Human Hepatocytes After Cryopreservation,” In Vitro Toxicol. 10:217-222).

The viability of the isolated hepatocytes may be determined using any of a variety or methods. Preferable, such viability will be determined using the Trypan blue exclusion method (see, e.g., Berry, M. N. et al. (1992) “Techniques For Pharmacological And Toxicological Studies With Isolated Hepatocyte Suspensions,” Life Sci. 51(1):1-16). Thus the phrases “viable hepatocytes” or “percent viability”, as used herein, refers to hepatocyte viability as assessed using the method of Trypan Blue exclusion.

Cryopreservation of the Isolated Primary Hepatocytes

The hepatocytes of the present invention are preferably cryopreserved using liquid nitrogen, and most preferably within 36 hours of their isolation. Considerations for the cryopreservation of human hepatocytes are discussed in Lloyd, T. D. R. et al. (2003) Cryopreservation Of Hepatocytes: A Review Of Current Methods For Banking,” Cell and Tissue Culture Banking 4:3-15. Suitable procedures for the cryopreservation of hepatocytes may also be found in the following documents: Adams, R. M. et al. (1995) “Effective Cryopreservation And Long-Term Storage Of Primary Human Hepatocytes With Recovery Of Viability, Differentiation, And Replicative Potential,” Cell Transplant. 4(6):579-586; Chesne, C. et al. (1993) “Viability And Function In Primary Culture Of Adult Hepatocytes From Various Animal Species And Human Beings After Cryopreservation,” Hepatology 18(2):406-414; Coundouris, J. A. et al. (1993) “Cryopreservation Of Human Adult Hepatocytes For Use In Drug Metabolism And Toxicity Studies,” Xenobiotica. 23(12):1399-1409; Hewitt, N. J. et al. (2004) Cryopreserved Rat Dog And Monkey Hepatocytes: Measurement Of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes In Suspensions And Cultures,” Hum Exp Toxicol. 23(6):307-316; Novicki, D. L. et al. (1982) “Cryopreservation Of Isolated Rat Hepatocytes,” In Vitro. 18(4):393-399; Shaddock, J, G. et al. (1993) “Cryopreservation And Long-Term Storage Of Primary Rat Hepatocytes: Effects On Substrate-Specific Cytochrome P450-Dependent Activities And Unscheduled DNA Synthesis,” Cell Biol Toxicol. 9(4):345-357; Zaleski, J. et al. (1993) “Preservation Of The Rate And Profile Of Xenobiotic Metabolism In Rat Hepatocytes Stored In Liquid Nitrogen,” Biochem Pharmacol. 46(1):111-116.

Preferably, isolated hepatocytes are suspended in a cryoprotective medium, and the suspended cells are dispensed into freezer-safe containers. A cryoprotective medium typically comprises a hepatocyte culture medium that contains at least one cryoprotectant that minimizes the deleterious effects of cryopreservation such as the formation of intracellular ice during freezing. By way of illustration and not limitation, the following commonly used cryoprotectants are listed: dimethylsulfoxide (DMSD), polyethylene glycol, amino acids, propanediol, and glycerol. A preferred cryoprotectant of the present invention is DMSD. Suitable cryoprotectants and methods for their use in hepatocyte cryopreservation can be found, for example, in: Lore, L. J. et al. (1989) “Optimization Of Cryopreservation Procedures For Rat And Human Hepatocytes,” Xenobiotica. 19(5):489-498; Chesne, C. et al. (1993) “Viability And Function In Primary Culture Of Adult Hepatocytes From Various Animal Species And Human Beings After Cryopreservation,” Hepatology 18(2):406-414; Diener, B. et al. (1993) “A Method For The Cryopreservation Of Liver Parenchymal Cells For Studies Of Xenobiotics,” Cryobiology 30(2):116-127; Lawrence, J. N. et al. (1991) “Development Of An Optimal Method For The Cryopreservation Of Hepatocytes And Their Subsequent Monolayer Culture. Toxicology In Vitro,” 5(1):39-51; Houle, R. et al. (2003) “Retention of Transporter Activities in Cryopreserved, Isolated Rat Hepatocytes,” Drug Metab. Disposit. 31(4):447-451; Silva, J. M. et al. (1999) “Induction Of Cytochrome-P450 In Cryopreserved Rat And Human Hepatocytes,” Chem-Biol Interact 121:49-63.

The isolated hepatocytes are preferably suspended in a cryoprotective medium in preparation for freezing. The suspended cells are preferably dispensed into freezer resistant containers at a cell density of from about 105 cells/ml to about 4×10 cells/ml. Preferred freezing volumes range from 0.1-10.0 ml. The preferred freezing volume is 1.0 ml.

The dispensed hepatocytes are then preferably cryopreserved using a controlled rate freezing process, most preferably at a freezing rate of between about −1° C./min to about −25° C./min until a final temperature of about −90° C. is reached. During the initial phase of the cryopreservation process, seeding may be employed to induce controlled crystallization or ice formation in cell suspensions that have already been cooled to below the freezing point of the culture medium. Such seeding serves to minimize ice formation-related damage and therefore may be beneficial to cell viability. Suitable seeding methods include inserting a cold metal rod into the freezing containers, and introducing a blast of liquid nitrogen into the freezing containers.

Once the desired final temperature has been reached, the frozen cell samples may be transferred to liquid nitrogen freezers for prolonged storage. The frozen samples may be stored in either the liquid nitrogen phase or the gas phase of liquid nitrogen. Preferably storage is accomplished in the gas phase of liquid nitrogen. The frozen samples may be stored in this manner for days, months, or years, with the length of storage in the gas phase of liquid nitrogen having little effect on the post-thaw viability and function.

The Thawing of Cryopreserved Hepatocytes

Frozen samples may be thawed for further processing by removing them from the presence of liquid nitrogen or liquid nitrogen vapor. Frozen samples are preferably thawed by placing the samples immediately into a prewarmed water bath having a temperature of between about 37° C. to about 42° C. Preferably, cells are thawed to at least the stage in which ice chunks can be dislodged when the sample container is inverted. The thawed cells are then preferably rapidly processed to remove the cells from contact with DMSO, for example by PERCOLL® Percoll (colloidal silica particles of 15-30 nm diameter (23% w/w in water) which have been coated with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)) gradient centrifugation (as described below) or by sequential washings.

In a preferred embodiment, the cells are thawed into Complete INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium (In Vitro Technologies, Baltimore, Md.; Roymans. U. et al. (2004) “Determination Of Cytochrome P450 IA2 And Cytochrome P4503a4 Induction In Cryopreserved Human Hepatocytes,” Biochem. Pharmacol. 67(3):427-437) (hepatocyte plating medium, which contains water, Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium, sodium bicarbonate, HEPES, fructose, bovine serum albumin, sodium hydroxide, MEM non-essential amino acids, insulin, hydrocortisone, and newborn calf serum). The medium is prepared by thawing TORPEDO™ Torpedo Antibiotic Mix (In Vitro Technologies, Baltimore, Md.) (a mixture of antibiotics selected to inhibit bacterial growth in hepatocyte cell cultures that contains penicillin, streptomycin, gentamicin, amikacin and fungizone) to 37° C. in a water bath until thawed, and then removed from the water bath. 1.0 ml of TORPEDO™ Torpedo Antibiotic Mix is then mixed with 45 ml INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium. Following the addition of TORPEDO™ Torpedo Antibiotic Mix, the shelf life for the complete medium is 7 days. When thawing a single vial, the INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium is prewarmed to approximately 37° C. 5 ml of warmed INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium is added to a sterile 50 ml conical tube. The vial of frozen hepatocytes is carefully removed from the freezer. If the vial was stored in the liquid phase, its cap is carefully removed, any liquid nitrogen present in the vial is decanted, and the cap is reclosed before placing the vial into the water bath. It is preferred to then immediately immerse the vial into a 37° C. water bath, and to shake the vial gently until the ice is entirely melted, but no longer than it takes to completely thaw the vial. It may be helpful to remove any labels from the vial so that it will be easier to view the vial contents. The thawed contents are then emptied into the pre-warmed INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium. 1.0 ml of pre-warmed INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium then is added to each vial to resuspend any remaining cells. The contents of the vial are then decanted or pipetted into the hepatocyte suspension. The hepatocytes are preferably resuspended by gently inverting the receiving container (e.g., vial, test rube, etc.) several (e.g., three) times.

When thawing multiple vials, it is preferred that all of the vials be thawed in the water bath simultaneously. As before, the medium (preferably, INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium) should be warmed to 37° C. It is desirable to ensure that there is enough medium to permit 5 ml of pre-warmed INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium to be used for each vial of cryopreserved hepatocytes. After vials have thawed, their caps should be quickly removed and their contents poured into a sterile tube or beaker that contains at least 5 ml of pre-warmed INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium per vial thawed. For example, 25 ml of media is preferably employed for 5 vials in a container that can hold a volume of 50 ml.

If desired, the total cell count and the number of viable cells may be determined using the Trypan Blue exclusion method. Cells may be diluted to 0.70×106 viable cells/ml with INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium.

The Reformulation of Thawed Hepatocytes to Permit Further Cryopreservation and Thawing

One aspect of the present invention concerns the ability to reformulate the thawed cells so that they may be refrozen and rethawed on one or more subsequent occasions. Such multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparations have multiple uses. They may be used in bioartificial livers, liver cell transplants, liver assist devices, hepatocyte transplantations, and in vitro applications. In particular, multicryopreserved multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparations may be used in in vitro drug metabolism studies (for example, in identifying hepatocytes with unique characteristics (e.g., metabolic polymorphisms, genetic polymorphisms, etc.), in studies on the metabolic fate of the xenobiotic and studies on the affect of the xenobiotic in altering the drug-metabolizing enzyme profile of the hepatocytes, in inhibition studies to determine the IC50 of xenobiotics on liver enzymes and functions (e.g. cholesterol metabolism), in gene induction studies with xenobiotics, in protein induction studies with xenobiotics, in toxicity assessment of xenobiotics on hepatocytes, transport studies with xenobiotics (e.g. studies on P-glycoprotein transport systems, organic ion transporters, organic cation transporters, etc.), in metabolic clearance studies with xenobiotics, and in efficacy assays (e.g. lipoprotein processing, gluconeogenesis, protein secretion etc.). Multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparations may also be used to study or propagate hepatitis viruses and other infectious viruses and agents. Recovered cells may be reformulated for use in DNA, mRNA or proteomic studies or in studies of metabolic polymorphisms. Multi-cryopreserved hepatocyte preparations may also be used in metabolic clearance studies and efficacy assays (e.g., lipoprotein processing, gluconeogenesis, protein secretion, etc.). Cells may be reformulated for use in seeding bioreactors for large scale incubations or as models for gene regulation via micro RNA, or for use in combination systems with other cell types (e.g. non-parenchymal cells from liver or cells from other sources, e.g. Caco-2 cells).

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, such reformulation comprises separating viable and non-viable cells prior to a subsequent refreezing. Density gradient centrifugation is preferably employed for this purpose. For example, a 30% PERCOLL® percoll gradient centrifugation procedure may be employed (Madan. A. et al. (1999) “Effect of Cryopreservation on Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Induction in Cultured Rat Hepatocytes, Drug Metab. Dispos. 27(3):327-335; Sun, E. L. et al. (1990) “Cryopreservation Of Cynomologus Monkey (Macaca fascicularis) Hepatocytes For Subsequent Culture And Protein Synthesis Studies,” In Vitro Cell Development and Biology 25:147-150; Lawrence, J. N. et al. (1991) “Development Of An Optimal Method For The Cryopreservation Of Hepatocytes And Their Subsequent Monolayer Culture,” Toxicology In Vitro, 5(1):39-51; Dou, M. et al. (1992) “Thawed Human Hepatocytes In Primary Culture,” Cryobiology 29(4):454-469; Utesch, D. et al. (1992) “Characterization Of Cryopreserved Rat Liver Parenchymal Cells By Metabolism Of Diagnostic Substrates And Activities Of Related Enzymes,” Biochemical Pharmacology 44:309-315). For example, the thawed cells may be resuspended in a prewarmed (approximately 37° C.) 30% PERCOLL® percoll isotonic fractionation buffer and then centrifuged at 100×g at room temperature for twenty minutes to pellet viable cells. The supernatant is discarded and the cells are resuspended in media for a subsequent cryopreservation step directly or for further processing prior to cryopreservation.

Cryopreserved preparations that result from the freezing of a previously frozen-thawed preparation will preferably have a post-thaw cell viability of greater than 50% and more preferably 70% or more. Such high viabilities enable the present invention to accomplish the repeated freezing and thawing of hepatocytes without unacceptable losses of cells or the need for ever greater samples sources.

Pooled Hepatocyte Preparations

The capacity of the present invention to enable the repeated freezing and thawing of hepatocytes additionally facilitates the production of pooled hepatocyte preparations, especially pooled human hepatocyte preparations. As discussed above, individual liver samples yield hepatocytes having differing metabolic capabilities. In order to facilitate the reproducible use or study of hepatocytes, it is desirable to minimize hepatocyte differences attributable to such sample variation by pooling hepatocytes from different sources to obtain a composite or “average” hepatocyte preparation. Such composite hepatocyte preparations may thus be formulated so as to provide a preparation having the metabolic activities of an “average” hepatocyte sample or a preparation whose hepatocyte enzyme functions approximate the hepatocyte enzyme functions of freshly isolated hepatocytes. Such metabolic activities may include, for example, some or all of the following enzymatic activities: coumarin 7-hydroxylase (COUM), dextromethorphan O-demethylase (DEX), 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylasc (ECOD), activities responsible for the phase II metabolism of 7-hydroxycoumarin (7-HCG and 7-HCS), activities responsible for the phase II metabolism of 7-hydroxycoumarin (7-HCS), mephenyloin 4-hydroxylase (MEPH), testosterone 6(β)-hydroxylase (TEST), tolbutamide 4-hydroxylase (TOLB), phenacetin O-deethylase (PHEN), or chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylase (CZX). The substrates, methods of measurements and assay units for assays of such metabolic activities are provided in Table 1.

TABLE I
Hepatocyte Metabolic Activities
AbbreviationSubstrate/AssayMethod of MeasurementUnits
7-HCG7-Phase II metabolism of 7-Pmol/min/106 cells
hydroxycoumarinhydroxycoumarin
glucuronide
7-HCS7-Phase II metabolismPmol/min/106 culls
hydroxycoumarinof 7-hydroxycoumarin
sulfate
NAT1p-aminobenzoic acidN-acetylation of p-nmol/mg/min
aminobenzoic acid
NAT2SulfamethazineN-acetylation ofnmol/mg/min
Sulfamethazine
VBTYviabilityTrypan Blue ™percentage
Exclusion
APAlkalineSigma kitunits/mg protein
Phosphatase
GGTgamma-glutamylGGT stainpositive
transpeptidase
UGT17-hydroxycoumarinPhase I1 metabolism169 pmol/mg/min
of 7-hydroxycoumarin
P450cytochrome p450carbon monoxideNot determined for
contentdifference spectrumcryo hepatocytes
nmol/mg protein
CZXchlorzoxazonechlorzoxazone 6-31.1 pmol/mg/min*
hydroxylation
COUMcoumarincoumarin 7-hydroxylation50.0 pmol/mg/min*
DEXdextromethorphandextromethorphan O-21.4 pmol/mg/min*
demethylation
MEPHmephenytoinmephenytoin 4-24.1 pmol/mg/min*
hydroxylation
PHENphenacetinphenacetin O-28.9 pmol/mg/min*
deethylation
TESTtestosteronetestosterone 6(beta)-96.8 pmol/mg/min*
hydroxylation
TOLBtolbutamidetolbutamide 4-hydroxylation30.6 pmol/mg/min*
PROTprotein contentPierce protein kitNot determined for
cryo hepatocytes
mg/mL
ECODethoxycoumarin7-ethoxycoumarin O-37.3 pmol/mg/min*
demethylation

For example, preferred preparations of pooled hepatocytes will yield assay values within the ranges identified in Table II. Alternatively, the hepatocytes samples used to form the pooled preparation may be selected so as to maximize, minimize, or emphasize certain hepatocyte functions over other functions so as to yield a pooled preparation that exhibits a user desired profile of liver cell function(s).

The pooled hepatocyte preparations of the present invention may comprise hepatocytes obtained from the same source at differing times, or from two or more different sources. Preferably, pooled hepatocyte preparations will result from the pooling of hepatocytes obtained from three, four, five, six or more different sources.

Most preferably, the pooled hepatocyte preparations of the invention will comprise at least one population of hepatocytes that were cryopreserved prior to pooling. For example, a pooled hepatocyte preparation may comprise one or more hepatocyte specimens that were cryopreserved prior to pooling with one or more freshly isolated hepatocyte specimens. Alternatively, a pooled hepatocyte preparation may comprise only hepatocyte specimens that were previously cryopreserved. Table II provides the normal range (i.e., the range between Assay Minimum and Assay Maximum for each Assay). Table II values are derived data of the last 150+ lots of human cryopreserved hepatocytes.

TABLE II
Hepatocyte Assays
Normal Range
Assay(pmol/min/106 cells)
coumarin 7-hydroxylation1 to 154
Dextromethorphan O-demethylation0.5 to 96  
7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylation1 to 154
Phase I metabolism of 7-hydroxycoumarin2 to 545
Phase II metabolism of 7-0 to 110
hydroxycoumarin
mephenytoin 4-hydroxylation0.2 to 442  
testosterone 6(beta)-hydroxylation2 to 675
tolbutamide 4-hydroxylation1.8 to 82  
phenacetin O-deethylation1 to 125
chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylation2 to 215

In certain embodiments of the invention, hepatocyte preparations will have assay values in the above stated ranges for at least three of, and preferably for at least four of, still more preferably for at least six of, and most preferably for at least eight of the following assays: the COUM assay; the DEX assay; the ECOD assay; the 7-HCG assay; the 7-HCS assay; the MEPH assay; the TEST assay; the TOLB assay; the PHEN assay; the CZX assay.

If desired, the cryopreserved hepatocytes may be plated on to collagen-coated tissue culture plates, or tissue culture plates coated with other extracellular matrix proteins including but not limited to laminin, fibronectin, entactin, poly-L-lysine, gelatin, or any combination thereof. Preferably, this is accomplished by diluting an appropriate volume (e.g., 0.2 ml to 2.5 ml) of diluted cells (e.g., cells having a concentration of approximately 0.7×106 cells/ml) onto the plates. For plating on a 96-well microliter plate, it is desirable to further dilute the cell suspension to a concentration of 0.35×106 cells/ml with INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP Medium, and to add 100 μl of the cell suspension to each well. It is preferred to even distribute the cells in the wells. This can be accomplished by gently shaking the plates in a back-and-forth and side-to-side manner; the use of a circular motion will cause the cells to evenly pool in the center of the wells. Human hepatocytes handled in this manner will attach to the plates in 2-4 hours, however, if minimal handling is desired, the cells can be allowed to attach overnight.

Having now generally described the invention, the same will be more readily understood through reference to the following examples, which are provided by way of illustration and are not intended to be limiting of the present invention unless specified.

Example 1

Refreezing of Thawed Hepatocyte Preparations

Cryopreserved hepatocytes are thawed and refrozen as indicated below.

Materials: 30 cc syringe, two couplers, PERCOLL® percoll in a 1 L bag, INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium in a 2 L bag, 1-2 L autoclaved beaker, heater, waterbath, centrifuge tube rack.

Procedure:

1) Set up a recirculating waterbath heater at 37-42° C.

2) Add approximately 200-400 mls of INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium to a 1-2 L beaker. Equip Biological Safety Cabinet with a manual pipet or a liquid handling robot.

3) Remove approximately 50 cryovials from dewar receptacle and quickly place them in 2 test tube racks. When possible, space vials apart.

4) Submerge solid cell suspensions into heated waterbath until the ice chunks can be dislodged when the vial is inverted.

5) Pour cell suspension from each vial into the beaker. Add 1 ml of INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium from the small beaker into each vial to rinse and pour contents into the beaker. Transfer thawed cell suspension into a 1 L sterile bag.

6) Attach bag, INVITROGRO™ InVitroGRO CP medium in a 2 L bag and PERCOLL® percoll bagged at 30% onto COBE® automated cell processor (a centrifugal system incorporating a flexible membrane that allows the removal of fluids while spinning through use of a rotating seal, hydraulic pump and flexible membrane) and process according to standard practices.

7) Perform a cell count.

8) Cryopreserve cell suspension.

PERCOLL®/REDIGRAD™ Percoll/RediGrad™ (Amersham Biosciences) is employed for the PERCOLL® percoll density centrifugation. PERCOLL® Percoll is composed of colloidal silica coated with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP). The REDIGRAD™ RediGrad™ formulation is also composed of colloidal silica but is covalently coated with silane. These coatings are thought to render the material non-toxic and ideal for use with biological materials. (http://www.apezech.ez/pdf/DF_RediGrad.pdf; http://www5.amershambiosciences.com/aptrix/upp00919.nsf/(FileDownload)?OpenAgent&decid=3139FC720067CA6CC1256F3600008566F&file=7150087AB.pdf) . Both particles have a density of 1.13 g/ml. Centrifugation of samples in the presence of PERCOLL®/REDIGRAD™ Percoll/RediGrad results in the spontaneous formation of a density gradient due to the heterogeneity of particle sizes in the medium.

PERCOLL®/REDIGRAD™ Percoll/RediGrad are is best used in balanced salt solutions, such as physiological saline (0.15M NaCl), although 0.25 M sucrose may be employed. The addition of 9 parts (v/v) of PERCOLL®/REDIGRAD™ Percoll/RediGrad to 1 part (v/v) of either 1.5 M NaCl, 10× concentrated cell culture medium, or 2.5 M sucrose will result in a solution adjusted to about 340 mOs/kg H2O, Solutions of different osmotic pressure can be produced by adjusting the relative volumes of PERCOLL®/REDIGRAD™ Percoll/RediGrad and salt or sucrose solution. (Vincent, R. et al. (1984) “Adjustment Of The Osmolality Of Percoll For The Isopycnic Separation Of Cells And Cell Organelles,” Anal. Biochem. 141(2):322-328). The final adjustment to the required osmolality can be carried out by the addition of salts or distilled water. Concentrations other than 10× physiological saline may also be used satisfactorily.

PERCOLL®/REDIGRAD™ Percoll/RediGrad will form self-generated gradients by centrifugation in fixed-angle rotor heads after 15 minutes. Hepatocytes can be separated by centrifugation at 50-100 gav in fixed-angle or swinging bucket rotor heads after 10-30 minutes.

Example 2

Variation of Primary Hepatocyte Samples

To illustrate the sample-to-sample variation of different sources of individual (unpooled) hepatocytes, hepatocytes are isolated from 82 different donors and analyzed for cell viability and enzyme function. The following metabolic activities are evaluated: COUM, DEX, ECOD, 7-HCG, 7-HCS, MEPH, TEST, TOLB, PHEN, and CZX. The results are shown in Table III.

TABLE III
Variation of Hepatocyte Samples
7-7-
Lot No.Sex% VCOUMDEXECODHCGHCSMEPHTESTTOLBPHENCZX
067M62%6717023124244352724
086F74%51231050913813BQL18
089F77%2521823611113BQL29
090F74%3025713BQL21915BQL16
091F73%132966441012252362736
094F67%41123724421126401987
099F86%211574BQL16010BQL22
104M81%6321442472525837820
105M67%5915243814129271227
110F77%4524352346206115436
111F71%410923314721919
114F75%392321105559TBD345
122M79%26302980514223425
129F90%424276718116331051
ACUF81%53825741888016423
AITF83%45291311814BQL8215117
AOKM73%60215828364586302421
ATRM73%71113911BQL11834
AVFM70%59135021029BQL54371124
BTPM88%66293621425350451112
CECM86%472617105272132573836
CEKF80%5523914151630241716
CHDF77%30145347142428231326
CPNM81%28640100132168143721
ECMM85%81110551868118219
EFAM69%99354751866124767
EHIF90%88356291451248214543
EJRF75%8914322884386241141
ENRM73%6928271243110777363832
EOBM88%1411186593149142135
ETRF88%301341313713133769
EVYM80%22023218773324251738
FNLM85%1727622823266501424
FRWM75%46221610617482554448
GBEF77%549311652021619554
GNGF74%571733548595221622
GTVF71%3268477BQL40281611
GUYM92%651211731220901358
HHGM83%281425129BQL2812440
HRUM90%43283917515469405744
ICJM74%134206028717BQL12982287
IEMM88%341723129347248231934
IHRF76%1743884999546417
LIDM86%363150307541142492151
IRXF73%57540172241211343618
JULM82%71134197231223
KK5M83%182731938BQL61171742
KPTF83%91232248305565265632
KRJF76%6407635937111612320
KRMF78%1263655831710398467444
K5EM73%6527522067421123429316
KZOF82%3816382628675323020
LAEM76%5815502942214676312521
MOFF91%79172910122855746
MRSM72%11921110450502675546828
MTRF69%23323218353867398
MYOF94%4024924BQLBQL127BQL11
NPXF79%36321313061576252010
NQTM85%76123980232151142034
OAUF81%472624868685465313
OZLM76%1615613001093165291743
PFMF87%211116710311681533
PXKM80%863563433782109623260
QWGF77%1632293002195010BQL15
RELF77%402015109965100337510
RFAF78%1304249444526195302817
RKBF95%4216161008336172019
RMLF76%BQL6451293114152244229
RNGF91%119149729827177207347141
ROEF82%7324363023725517251
SEOF72%362518106966102508111
SQJF74%1151210028519175210308142
SRAM79%50671409841023281844
TPZF83%1201310130126171204318241
TSRF62%47665817520BQL6771634
VCMM82%4228794151100.294164215
VENF70%79698932853232584881
VTAM78%3212584125120214015
WWMM84%4212712712658211637
ZAGM85%3528399673111421718
ZCRM80%841139160223814572018
ZIJM72%6333132029132534313
BQL (Below Quantization Limit)
TBD (To Be Determined)

Example 3

Characterization of Pooled Hepatocytes

Cryopreserved pooled lots of hepatocytes are prepared and analyzed for post-thaw viability and enzyme function. The following metabolic activities are evaluated: COUM, DEX, ECOD, 7-HCG, 7-HCS, MEPH, TEST, TOLB, PHEN, and CZX.

Six lots of pooled hepatocytes, comprising either five-donor pools or ten-donor pools, are prepared as described above. Hepatocytes are harvested from individual donors and then cryopreserved as individual lots using liquid nitrogen as freezing agent. Cryopreservation is accomplished by suspending the hepatocytes into freezer-safe vials containing a medium having approximately 10% DMSD and approximately 90% Cryopreservation Medium. The dispensed hepatocytes are then frozen in a controlled rate freezer until a final temperature of approximately −80° C. is reached.

To form the pooled hepatocyte preparations, individual lots are thawed, and the viable cells are isolated by percoll PERCOLL® gradient centrifugation. Vials of individual donor cryopreserved hepatocytes were thawed in a 37° C. waterbath (perhaps it would be better to give a range such as 30-40° C. waterbath?) for 60-90 seconds. The thawed cells are decanted into 37° C. media containing 30% Isotonic Percoll PERCOLL® and 70% CP-2 media. The cell suspension is centrifuged at 100 g for 20 minutes. The viable cells are recovered in cryopreservation media and counted. The viable cells are diluted to 20 million cells per mL. A second solution containing 20% DMS4 and 80% cryopreservation media (equal volume to the cell suspension listed above) is prepared. The 20% DMSO and 80% cryopreservation media is slowly added to the cells suspension mixture. The addition takes 5-10 minutes. The resulting mixture is 10% DMSO, 90% cryopreservation media with cells at 10 million cells per mL. This solution is aliquoted into cryovials at 1.0 mL per vial. The cells are then cryopreserved. Viable cells from individual lots are then pooled to form pooled hepatocyte preparations whose cells have functional assay values within desired ranges.

The pooled lots are then cryopreserved. Table IV below shows the results of the post-thaw viability (“% V”) and enzyme function analysis of the pooled lots. As indicated in Table III, pools had an average viability of 79% (S.D.±6%).

TABLE IV
Pool% VCOUMDEXECOD7-HCG7-HCSMEPHTESTTOLBPHENCZX
MJIa89632866301441270615062
YDJa72663080470411165312771
APO79792155276432112222630
HMBb76611870231463151232083
IJUa75321935232442124321142
RKSb81842073336532131282355
a5-donor lots
b10-donor lots

For comparison, Table V below shows summary data for a post-thaw viability and enzyme function analysis of eighty-one individual lots that are cryopreserved (i.e., subjected to one cycle of cryopreservation). This data confirms that the lot-to-lot variability of enzyme function found in individual hepatocyte sources is very high. The data confirms the desirability of employing pooled hepatocyte preparations for providing cryopreserved cells that approximate the enzyme function of “average” hepatocytes for a wide variety of enzymes.

TABLE V
Summary of Pooled Hepatocyte Lot Data
% VCOUMDEXECO7-HCG7-HCSMEPHTESTTOLBPHENCZX
Avg7937175127627835351519
High951346911047111017767582125215
Low6261312312422534313

Example 3

Example 4

Characterization of the Viability of Pooled Hepatocytes After Thawing

A common use of for cryopreserved hepatocytes is to thaw the hepatocytes and then incubate them with various xenobiotics. For this purpose, it is preferred that the hepatocytes maintain their viability for at least several hours. To examine the post-thaw viability over time for one lot of pooled cryopreserved hepatocytes, the cells were thawed, aliquoted into the wells of a 12-well plate, and incubated at 37° C. with 5%. CO2. The viability of the hepatocytes is then measured at time-points for up to six hours. Table VI shows the results of this analysis, wherein, at six hours, 39% of the hepatocytes remained viable

TABLE VI
Post-Thaw Viability Analysis of a
Pooled Hepatocyte Lot
Timepoint% Viabilitya
T = 088%
0.5 hrs79%
1.0 hrs84%
2.0 hrs79%
3.0 hrs73%
4.0 hrs67%
6.0 hrs69%
aviability determined by Trypan Blue

All publications and patents mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.

While the invention has been described in connection with specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that it is capable of further modifications and this application is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention following, in general, the principles of the invention and including such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice within the art to which the invention pertains and as may be applied to the essential features hereinbefore set forth