Home Research In vitro toxicology Decellularized liver matrix

It is known that restoration of in vivo-like 3D interactions between hepatocytes and extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for their survival and the preservation of phenotypic functions. Indeed, current 2D hepatic in vitro models are characterized by low predictive strength resulting from the fact that they fail to maintain metabolic liver functions and have a short lifespan.

Our team has developed a protocol in which native 3D decellularized liver matrix (DLM) is obtained by sequential perfusion of liver with carefully selected mild detergents. This resulted in:

  • efficient removal of cellular components,
  • preservation of major liver ECM proteins (laminin, collagen I and IV, fibronectin),
  • retention of liver ECM-bound growth factors,
  • intact liver vasculature capable of withstanding fluid flows.



When used as a cell cultivation scaffold or substratum, the DLM could improve the cell function and viability by promoting a higher level of cell organization in in vivo-like hepatic microenvironment. By doing so, this methodology could facilitate the development of innovative in vitro models for liver research and testing.



Prof. Joery De Kock
Dr Robim M. Rodrigues
PhD student Alessandra Natale
Associated Projects


Relevant Publications

  • De Kock J., Ceelen L., De Spiegelaere W., Casteleyn C., Claes P., Vanhaecke T. and Rogiers V. (2011) Simple and quick method for whole liver decellularization. Archives of Toxicology 85, 607-612.

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