iPSC-derived hepatocytes generated from NASH donors provide a valuable platform for disease modeling and drug discovery


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 30-40% of adults and 10% of children in the US. About 20% of people with NAFLD develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer, and is projected to be a leading cause of liver transplantation in the near future. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from NASH patients are useful for generating a large number of hepatocytes for NASH modeling applications and identification of potential drug targets. We developed a novel defined in vitro differentiation process to generate cryopreservable hepatocytes using an iPSC panel of NASH donors and apparently healthy normal (AHN) controls. iPSC-derived hepatocytes displayed stage specific phenotypic markers, hepatocyte morphology, with bile canaliculi. Importantly, both fresh and cryopreserved definitive endoderm and hepatoblasts successfully differentiated to pure and functional hepatocytes with increased CYP3A4 activity in response to rifampicin and lipid accumulation upon fatty acid (FA) treatment. End-stage hepatocytes integrated into three-dimensional (3D) liver organoids and demonstrated increased levels of albumin secretion compared to aggregates consisting of hepatocytes alone. End-stage hepatocytes derived from NASH donors demonstrated spontaneous lipidosis without FA supplementation, recapitulating a feature of NASH hepatocytes in vivo Cryopreserved hepatocytes generated by this protocol across multiple donors will provide a critical cell source to facilitate the fundamental understanding of NAFLD/NASH biology and potential high throughput screening applications for preclinical evaluation of therapeutic targets. © 2020. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Authors Gurevich I, Burton SA, Munn C, Ohshima M, Goedland ME, Czysz K, Rajesh D
Journal Biology open
Publication Date 2020 Dec 16;9(12)
PubMed 33268331
PubMed Central PMC7758638
DOI 10.1242/bio.055087

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