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The dielectric and conductometric properties of hepatocytes in two different environments (in aqueous suspension and embedded into polymeric scaffolds) have been investigated in the frequency range from 1 kHz to 2 GHz, where the interfacial electrical polarization gives rise to marked dielectric relaxation effects. We analyzed the dielectric behavior of hepatocytes in complete medium aqueous suspensions in the light of effective medium approximation for heterogeneous systems and hepatocytes cultured into two different highly porous and interconnected polymeric structures. In the former case, we have evaluated the passive electrical parameters associated with both the plasmatic and nuclear membrane, finding a general agreement with the values reported elsewhere, based on a partially different analysis of the experimental spectra. In the latter case, we have evaluated the cell growth into two different polymeric scaffolds made of alginate and gelatin with a similar pore distribution and similar inter-connectivity. Based on a qualitative analysis of the dielectric spectra, we were able to provide evidence that alginate scaffolds allow an overall survival of cells better than gelatin scaffold can do. These indications, confirmed by biological tests on cell viability, suggest that hepatocytes embedded in alginate scaffolds are able to perform liver specific functions even over on extended period of time. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


M Massimi, A Stampella, L Conti Devirgiliis, G Rizzitelli, A Barbetta, M Dentini, C Cametti. Dielectric characterization of hepatocytes in suspension and embedded into two different polymeric scaffolds. Colloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces. 2013 Feb 1;102:700-7

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PMID: 23107949

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