Treatment of hypercholesterolemia in the Watanabe rabbit using allogeneic hepatocellular transplantation under a regeneration stimulus

Susumu Eguchi, Jacek Rozga*, Laura T. Lebow, Steve C. Chen, Chih Chi Wang, Raul Rosenthal, Luciano Fogli, Winston R. Hewitt, Yvette Middleton, Achilles A. Demetriou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

47 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have reported successful allotransplantation of hepatocytes. However, none have shown long-term correction of a liver- related metabolic defect. In this study, we used a method of regional hepatocyte transplantation and subsequent induction of transplanted cell proliferation by regeneration response in the transplant-bearing liver lobes. New Zealand White rabbits were used as cell donors and Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbits were used as cell recipients (2x108 cells/rabbit). All recipient rabbits were maintained on daily cyclosporine. Two weeks after baseline serum cholesterol determination, group I WHHL rabbits (n=7) received an infusion of cells into the right lateral liver lobe, and a loose ligature was placed around the portal venous branch supplying the anterior lobe. After 1 week, to allow engraftment, the portal venous branch was ligated, which resulted in the atrophy of the affected liver parenchyma and induction of hyperplasia in the transplant-bearing liver tissue. Group II rabbits (n=6) were transplanted with New Zealand White hepatocytes without portal branch ligation (PBL) and group III rabbits (n=4) were subjected to sham transplantation (saline) and PBL. The experimental period extended to 150 days after transplantation. All WHHL rabbits transplanted with normal hepatocytes showed reduction in serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Group I (PBL-stimulated) recipients demonstrated a more pronounced and sustained effect than group II animals (P<0.05). Group III controls showed only a slight, typical for aging decrease in serum cholesterol. Group I recipient livers perfused with LDL labeled with 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl indocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) showed much higher numbers of Dil-LDL-positive hepatocytes than those of group II recipients. In conclusion, a liver regeneration stimulus enhanced the population of transplanted hepatocytes and their functional effect in a large animal model of inborn error of liver metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-593
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 15 09 1996
Externally publishedYes


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