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Journal for Biophysical Chemistry

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  • Open Access

Current development of bioreactors for extracorporeal bioartificial liver (Review)

  • 1, 2Email author,
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 3,
  • 1,
  • 3 and
  • 2, 4

Received: 28 July 2010

Accepted: 8 November 2010

Published: 14 September 2011


The research and development of extracorporeal bioartificial liver is gaining pace in recent years with the introduction of a myriad of optimally designed bioreactors with the ability to maintain long-term viability and liver-specific functions of hepatocytes. The design considerations for bioartificial liver are not trivial; it needs to consider factors such as the types of cell to be cultured in the bioreactor, the bioreactor configuration, the magnitude of fluid-induced shear stress, nutrients' supply, and wastes' removal, and other relevant issues before the bioreactor is ready for testing. This review discusses the exciting development of bioartificial liver devices, particularly the various types of cell used in current reactor designs, the state-of-the-art culturing and cryopreservation techniques, and the comparison among many today's bioreactor configurations. This review will also discuss in depth the importance of maintaining optimal mass transfer of nutrients and oxygen partial pressure in the bioreactor system. Finally, this review will discuss the commercially available bioreactors that are currently undergoing preclinical and clinical trials.