Summary The mammalian liver possesses a remarkable regenerative ability. Two modes of damage response have been described: (1) The “oval cell” response emanates from the biliary tree when all hepatocytes are affected by chronic liver disease. (2) A massive, proliferative response of mature hepatocytes occurs upon acute liver damage such as partial hepatectomy (PHx). While the oval cell response has been captured in vitro by growing organoids from cholangiocytes, the hepatocyte proliferative response has not been recapitulated in culture. Here, we describe the establishment of a long-term 3D organoid culture system for mouse and human primary hepatocytes. Organoids can be established from single hepatocytes and grown for multiple months, while retaining key morphological, functional and gene expression features. Transcriptional profiles of the organoids resemble those of proliferating hepatocytes after PHx. Human hepatocyte organoids proliferate extensively after engraftment into mice and thus recapitulate the proliferative damage-response of hepatocytes.
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