Our paper got published in Scientific Reports!
Dr. Imamura and Mr. Yoshimoto took a lead to accomplish this project. Congrats!
Abstract: Hepatocyte-like cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-HLCs) offer an alternative to primary hepatocytes commonly used for drug screenings and toxicological tests. However, these cells do not have hepatic functions comparable to those of hepatocytes in vivo due to insufficient hepatic differentiation. Here we showed that the hepatic functions of hPSC-HLCs were facilitated by applying physiological liver temperatures during hepatic differentiation. We identified the optimal temperature by treating HLCs derived from H9 human embryonic stem cells (hESC-HLCs) at 39 °C; the 42 °C treatment caused significantly greater cell death than the 39 °C treatment. We confirmed the improvement of hepatic functions, such as albumin secretion, cytochrome P450 3A activity, and collagen production, without severe cell damage. In combination with existing hepatic differentiation protocols, the method proposed here may further improve hepatic functions for hPSCs and lead to the realization of drug discovery efforts and drug toxicological tests.