Conventionally, some bioartificial liver devices are used with separate plasmapheresis unit to separate out plasma from whole blood and adsorbent column to detoxify plasma before it passes through a hepatocytes-laden bioreactor. We aim to develop a hybrid bioreactor that integrates the separate modules in one compact design improving the efficacy of the cryogel based bioreactor as a bioartificial liver support. A plasma separation membrane and an activated carbon cloth are placed over a HepG2-loaded cryogel scaffold in a three-chambered bioreactor design. This bioreactor is consequently connected extracorporeally to a rat model of acute liver failure for 3 h and major biochemical parameters studied. Bilirubin and aspartate transaminase showed a percentage decrease of 20-60% in the integrated bioreactor as opposed to 5-15% in the conventional setup. Urea and ammonia levels which showed negligible change in the conventional setup increase (40%) and decrease (18%), respectively in the integrated system. Also, an overall increase of 5% in human albumin in rat plasma indicated bioreactor functionality in terms of synthetic functions. These results were corroborated by offline evaluation of patient plasma. Hence, integrating the plasmapheresis and adsorbent units with the bioreactor module in one compact design improves the efficacy of the bioartificial liver device.
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