Ornithine transcarbamylase and arginase I deficiency are responsible for diminished urea cycle function in the human hepatoblastoma cell line HepG2.
ABSTRACT A possible cell source for a bio-artificial liver is the human hepatblastoma-derived cell line HepG2 as it confers many hepatocyte functions, however, the urea cycle is not maintained resulting in the lack of ammonia detoxification via this cycle. We investigated urea cycle activity in HepG2 cells at both a molecular and biochemical level to determine the causes for the lack of urea cycle expression, and subsequently addressed reinstatement of the cycle by gene transfer. Metabolic labelling studies showed that urea production from 15N-ammonium chloride was not detectable in HepG2 conditioned medium, nor could 14C-labelled urea cycle intermediates be detected. Gene expression data from HepG2 cells revealed that although expression of three urea cycle genes Carbamoyl Phosphate Synthase I, Arginosuccinate Synthetase and Arginosuccinate Lyase was evident, Ornithine Transcarbamylase and Arginase I expression were completely absent. These results were confirmed by Western blot for arginase I, where no protein was detected. Radiolabelled enzyme assays showed that Ornithine Transcarbamylase functional activity was missing but that Carbamoyl Phosphate Synthase I, Arginosuccinate Synthetase and Arginosuccinate Lyase were functionally expressed at levels comparable to cultured primary human hepatocytes. To restore the urea cycle, HepG2 cells were transfected with full length Ornithine Transcarbamylase and Arginase I cDNA constructs under a CMV promoter. Co-transfected HepG2 cells displayed complete urea cycle activity, producing both labelled urea and urea cycle intermediates. This strategy could provide a cell source capable of urea synthesis, and hence ammonia detoxificatory function, which would be useful in a bio-artificial liver.
Article: Bioengineering the liver: scale-up and cool chain delivery of the liver cell biomass for clinical targeting in a bioartificial liver support system.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Acute liver failure has a high mortality unless patients receive a liver transplant; however, there are insufficient donor organs to meet the clinical need. The liver may rapidly recover from acute injury by hepatic cell regeneration given time. A bioartificial liver machine can provide temporary liver support to enable such regeneration to occur. We developed a bioartificial liver machine using human-derived liver cells encapsulated in alginate, cultured in a fluidized bed bioreactor to a level of function suitable for clinical use (performance competence). HepG2 cells were encapsulated in alginate using a JetCutter to produce ∼500 μm spherical beads containing cells at ∼1.75 million cells/mL beads. Within the beads, encapsulated cells proliferated to form compact cell spheroids (AELS) with good cell-to-cell contact and cell function, that were analyzed functionally and by gene expression at mRNA and protein levels. We established a methodology to enable a ∼34-fold increase in cell density within the AELS over 11-13 days, maintaining cell viability. Optimized nutrient and oxygen provision were numerically modeled and tested experimentally, achieving a cell density at harvest of >45 million cells/mL beads; >5×10(10) cells were produced in 1100 mL of beads. This process is scalable to human size ([0.7-1]×10(11)). A short-term storage protocol at ambient temperature was established, enabling transport from laboratory to bedside over 48 h, appropriate for clinical translation of a manufactured bioartificial liver machine.BioResearch open access. 02/2013; 2(1):1-11.
Article: Serum and urine metabolite profiling reveals potential biomarkers of human hepatocellular carcinoma.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common malignancy in the world with high morbidity and mortality rate. Identification of novel biomarkers in HCC remains impeded primarily because of the heterogeneity of the disease in clinical presentations as well as the pathophysiological variations derived from underlying conditions such as cirrhosis and steatohepatitis. The aim of this study is to search for potential metabolite biomarkers of human HCC using serum and urine metabolomics approach. Sera and urine samples were collected from patients with HCC (n = 82), benign liver tumor patients (n = 24), and healthy controls (n = 71). Metabolite profiling was performed by gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry and ultra performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry in conjunction with univariate and multivariate statistical analyses. Forty three serum metabolites and 31 urinary metabolites were identified in HCC patients involving several key metabolic pathways such as bile acids, free fatty acids, glycolysis, urea cycle, and methionine metabolism. Differentially expressed metabolites in HCC subjects, such as bile acids, histidine, and inosine are of great statistical significance and high fold changes, which warrant further validation as potential biomarkers for HCC. However, alterations of several bile acids seem to be affected by the condition of liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. Quantitative measurement and comparison of seven bile acids among benign liver tumor patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatitis, HCC patients with liver cirrhosis and hepatitis, HCC patients without liver cirrhosis and hepatitis, and healthy controls revealed that the abnormal levels of glycochenodeoxycholic acid, glycocholic acid, taurocholic acid, and chenodeoxycholic acid are associated with liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. HCC patients with alpha fetoprotein values lower than 20 ng/ml was successfully differentiated from healthy controls with an accuracy of 100% using a panel of metabolite markers. Our work shows that metabolomic profiling approach is a promising screening tool for the diagnosis and stratification of HCC patients.Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 04/2011; 10(7):M110.004945. · 7.40 Impact Factor
Article: Zonation related function and ubiquitination regulation in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells in dynamic vs. static culture conditions.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Understanding hepatic zonation is important both for liver physiology and pathology. There is currently no effective systemic chemotherapy for human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its pathogenesis is of special interest. Genomic and proteomic data of HCC cells in different culture models, coupled to pathway-based analysis, can help identify HCC-related gene and pathway dysfunctions. We identified zonation-related expression profiles contributing to selective phenotypes of HCC, by integrating relevant experimental observations through gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). Analysis was based on gene and protein expression data measured on a human HCC cell line (HepG2/C3A) in two culture conditions: dynamic microfluidic biochips and static Petri dishes. Metabolic activity (HCC-related cytochromes P450) and genetic information processing were dominant in the dynamic cultures, in contrast to kinase signaling and cancer-specific profiles in static cultures. That, together with analysis of the published literature, leads us to propose that biochips culture conditions induce a periportal-like hepatocyte phenotype while standard plates cultures are more representative of a perivenous-like phenotype. Both proteomic data and GSEA results further reveal distinct ubiquitin-mediated protein regulation in the two culture conditions. Pathways analysis, using gene and protein expression data from two cell culture models, confirmed specific human HCC phenotypes with regard to CYPs and kinases, and revealed a zonation-related pattern of expression. Ubiquitin-mediated regulation mechanism gives plausible explanations of our findings. Altogether, our results suggest that strategies aimed at inhibiting activated kinases and signaling pathways may lead to enhanced metabolism-mediated drug resistance of treated tumors. If that were the case, mitigating inhibition or targeting inactive forms of kinases would be an alternative.BMC Genomics 01/2012; 13:54. · 4.07 Impact Factor