Engineered 3D liver microenvironments for better study of physical and biochemical effects on diseased and healthy liver cells
Sometimes our true character is only revealed when we face real adversity. It’s hard to draw conclusions if you only see a sunny scenario. And we can only learn so much about tackling disease if our experiments are based exclusively on healthy cells and tissues. Lab-based models of the human liver – collections of cells that simulate the real thing – are essential to research into liver function, but existing models don’t represent diseased livers as well as healthy ones. A study has developed an improved model (pictured) with increased cell-cell interactions, longer-term stability, and a supportive scaffold (green) formed of a hydrogel. Liver cells (pink) in this model better mimic those in the body, with clear differences between healthy and diseased scenarios, providing a valuable platform for investigating not just healthy biology, but the mechanics – and potential treatments – of disease.
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