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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Med. | doi: 10.3389/fmed.2019.00265

iPSC-Derived Hepatocytes as a Platform for Disease Modeling and Drug Discovery

  • 1Medical University of South Carolina, United States

The liver is one of the largest organs in the body and is responsible for a diverse repertoire of metabolic processes. Such processes include the secretion of serum proteins, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, bile acid and urea synthesis, detoxification of drugs and metabolic waste products, and vitamin and carbohydrate storage. Currently, liver disease is one of the most prevalent causes of mortality in the USA with congenital liver defects contributing to a significant proportion of these deaths. Historically the study of liver disease has been hampered by a shortage of organ donors, the subsequent scarcity of healthy tissue, and the failure of animal models to fully recapitulate human liver function. In vitro culture of hepatocytes has also proven difficult because primary hepatocytes rapidly de-differentiate in culture. Recent advances in stem cell technology have facilitated the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from various somatic cell types from patients. Such cells can be differentiated to a liver cell fate, essentially providing a limitless supply of cells with hepatocyte characteristics that can mimic the pathophysiology of liver disease. Furthermore, development of the CRISPR-Cas9 system, as well as advancement of miniaturized differentiation platforms has facilitated the development of high throughput models for the investigation of hepatocyte differentiation and drug discovery. In this review, we will explore the latest advances in iPSC-based disease modelling and drug screening platforms and examine how this technology is being used to identify new pharmacological interventions, and to advance our understanding of liver development and mechanisms of disease. We will cover how iPSC technology is being used to develop predictive models for rare diseases and how information gained from large in vitro screening experiments can be used to directly inform clinical investigation.

Keywords: IPSC, hepatocyte, differentiation, CRISPR-Cas9, disease modeling, Drug screens

Received: 31 Jul 2019; Accepted: 30 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Corbett and Duncan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Stephen A. Duncan, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, 29425, South Carolina, United States, duncanst@musc.edu