Novel technologies to establish three-dimensional, in vivo-like tissue consisting of various types of cells are required for tissue engineering. We applied magnetic force to construct a heterotypic, layered coculture system of rat hepatocytes and human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) that was not limited by cell type. Magnetite cationic liposomes carrying a positive surface charge to improve adsorption accumulated in HAECs at a concentration of 38 pg of magnetite per cell. Magnetically labeled HAECs specifically accumulated onto hepatocyte monolayers at sites where a magnet (4000 G) was positioned, and then adhered to form a heterotypic, layered construct with tight and close contact. This cocultured construct significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced albumin secretion by hepatocytes compared with that in homotypic cultures of hepatocytes or heterotypic cocultures of hepatocytes and HAECs without magnets. These results suggest that this novel use of magnetite nanoparticles and magnetic force, which we refer to as "magnetic force-based tissue engineering" (Mag-TE), offers a major advancement in tissue engineering.
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