Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



J. Vis. Exp. (132), e56993


Copyright © 2018

doi:10.3791/56993 (2018).


This protocol demonstrates a method for obtaining high yield and viability for mouse hepatocytes and sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs) suitable for culturing or for obtaining cell lysates. In this protocol, the portal vein is used as the site for catheterization, rather than the vena cava, as this limits contamination of other possible cell types in the final liver preparation. No special instrumentation is required throughout the procedure. A water bath is used as a source of heat to maintain the temperature of all the buffers and solutions. A standard peristaltic pump is used to drive the fluid, and a refrigerated table-top centrifuge is required for the centrifugation procedures. The only limitation of this technique is the placement of the catheter within the portal vein, which is challenging on some of the mice in the 18 - 25 g size range. An advantage of this technique is that only one vein is utilized for the perfusion and the access to the vein is quick, which minimizes ischemia and reperfusion of the liver that reduces hepatic cell viability. Another advantage to this protocol is that it is easy to distinguish live from dead hepatocytes by eyesight due to the difference in cellular density during the centrifugation steps. Cells from this protocol may be used in cell culture for any downstream application as well as processed for any biochemical assessment.