No optimal assay for assessing isolated hepatocytes before hepatocyte transplantation (HTx) has been established, therefore reliable and rapid assays are warranted. Isolated rat hepatocytes were dipped in a water bath (necrosis model), and were also cultured with Okadaic acid (apoptosis model) or vehicle, followed by cellular assessment including trypan blue exclusion (TBE) viability, ADP /ATP ratio, plating efficiency (PE), DNA quantity and ammonia elimination. Hepatocytes were transplanted into the liver of analbuminemic rats, subsequently engraftment was assessed by serum albumin and the histology of transplanted grafts. In the necrosis model, the ADP/ATP ratio was strongly and negatively correlated with the TBE (R 2 = 0.559, P < 0.001). In the apoptosis model, the ADP/ATP ratio assay, PE, DNA quantification and an ammonia elimination test clearly distinguished the groups (P < 0.001, respectively). The ADP/ATP ratio, PE and DNA quantity were well-correlated and the ammonia elimination was slightly correlated with the transplant outcome. TBE could not distinguish the groups and was not correlated with the outcome. The ADP/ATP ratio assay predicted the transplant outcome. PE and DNA quantification may improve the accuracy of the retrospective (evaluations require several days) quality assessment of hepatocytes. The ADP/ATP ratio assay, alone or with a short-term metabolic assay could improve the efficiency of HTx.
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