Hepatocyte transplantation is an investigational alternative to orthotopic liver transplantation to treat liver based inborn errors of metabolism. We report successful hepatocyte transplantation in a 4-year-old girl with infantile Refsum disease. Hepatocytes were isolated from the left liver segment of two male donors using a classic two-step perfusion method. Fresh cells were transplanted first and then cryopreserved cells, for a total of 2 billion cells. Total bile acids and abnormal dihydroxycoprostanoïc acid markedly decreased in the patient's serum, indicating resolution of cholestasis and re-population of liver cells. Pipecholic acid decreased by 40% and c26:c22 fatty acid ratio by 36% after 18 months. Donor chromosomes sequences were detected on biopsy posttransplant, indicating engraftment. Hepatocyte transplantation is a safe and promising technique in the treatment of rare inborn errors of metabolism. Future improvements of cell viability and prevention of apoptosis may increase engraftment and subsequent re-population.
Sokal et al. Transplantation. 2003 Aug 27;76(4):735-8.