Enhancing Survival of Human Hepatocytes by Neonatal Thymectomy and Partial Hepatectomy in Micro-miniature Pigs

H. C. Hsu, S. Enosawa, T. Yamazaki, S. Tohyama, J. Fujita, K. Fukuda, E. Kobayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background With the goal of in vivo cultivation of human hepatocytes that have not been sufficient in full differentiation in vitro, the advantage of neonatal thymectomy was verified on expansion of xenogeneic human hepatocyte in the micro-miniature pig (MMP). Methods The thymus was excised immediately after the birth of the MMPs via cesarean section. Newborns were fed by artificial feeding under specific pathogen-free conditions. The thymectomized and nonthymectomized littermates were transplanted with human hepatocytes via a portal vein with or without partial hepatectomy at the MMP adult stage. Results The growth of thymectomized MMPs and the sham operated littermates was not significantly different; the former weighed 1.98 ± 0.30 kg (average ± standard deviation, n = 4) and the latter weighed 2.28 ± 0.39 kg (n = 4) at 1 month of age, and 17.48 ± 1.92 kg and 16.75 ± 2.68 kg at 12 months of age. Blood thymosin α1 concentrations in the thymectomy group were significantly lower than in the control group (0.22 ± 0.05 ng/mL vs 0.46 ± 0.16 ng/mL; n = 4, 12 months old, P = .029). After human hepatocyte transplantation, human albumin levels were detectable on day 28 in the peripheral blood of the thymectomy plus hepatectomy group (14.3 ± 4.9 ng/mL [± range, n = 2]) but were not detectable even on day 21 in the control group. Conclusions Neonatal thymectomy was successfully achieved in infantile MMPs born via cesarean section. These pigs were considered to be an ideal in vivo bioreactor for human hepatocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-158
Number of pages6
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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