Our proposal addresses some of the solutions to the development of complex 3- dimensional tissue models and a new paradigm by using lymph node as in vivo bioreactors to grow tissue or organ substitute. Our initial study and prove of concept will be centered around the generation of ectopic liver in lymph nodes for patients suffering end-stage liver diseases. Hepatocyte transplantation has been reported as a possible therapeutic approach for liver disease. However, transplantation has been directed at the liver itself, limiting efficacy in patients with end-stage liver diseases, when cirrhosis and fibrosis are common. In this proposal we demonstrate that the generation of an ectopic liver within lymph nodes is an efficient method to restore hepatic function, highlighting the novel use of this organ as a site for hepatocyte transplantation. Homeostatic expansion of donor hepatocytes in lymph nodes resulted in the rescue of lethal hepatic failure. These data provide the first definitive evidence that a functional ectopic liver can rescue lethal hepatic diseases. Furthermore, with the efficacy of this approach suggests that lymph nodes have therapeutic potential for cell-based transplantation and tissue engineering. Our new paradigm to generate functional liver tissues in lymph nodes will be further applied to other tissues.
Our proposal addresses some of the hurdles confronting the development of complex 3-D tissue models, and provides a new paradigm for tissue modeling, by using lymph nodes as in vivo bioreactors to grow tissue or organ substitutes.
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