The purpose of the investigation was the design and development of an oxygen carrier system for oxygenation of liver cells (hepatocytes) in a bio-artificial liver support system. Acute liver failure is a devastating condition with higher than 80% mortality. Currently the only successful treatment is orthotopic liver transplantation. The high mortality rate could be reduced if a system could be developed that could bridge the patient either until recovery (due to the liver’s well-known regeneration ability) or until transplantation. Such a system requires a bioreactor with a high density of cultured cells. Sufficient oxygen delivery to the cells is critical to ensure efficient cell function. The CSIR and University of Pretoria (UP) have designed and developed a novel bio-artificial liver support system (BALSS) that utilizes perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB) as artificial oxygen carrier. As the PFOB is not miscible with water, it needs to be emulsified. To enable the use of the PFOB emulsion in the UP-CSIR BALSS, a study was carried out to investigate relevant aspects relating to the PFOB emulsion, i.e. the formulation, manufacturing procedure, stability, rheology and mass transfer characteristics. The study results are reported in this dissertation, including a proposed mass transfer model for describing oxygen mass transfer to and from the PFOB emulsions. Emulsion stability can be improved through control of the droplet size and size distribution, limiting Ostwald ripening, and control of zeta potential of the dispersed phase droplets. PFOB emulsions with dispersed phase (PFOB) volume fractions between 0.4 and 0.5 and Sauter mean droplet diameter between 100 and 200 nm were found to be optimal for oxygen mass transfer in cell culture systems. The PFOB emulsion in the UP-CSIR BALSS can be concentrated and recirculated using ultrafiltration. Quantitative recovery of PFOB from its emulsions can be carried out using distillation with orthophosphoric acid. Experimental overall mass transfer coefficients for membrane oxygenators obtained without PFOB compared well with literature reported values of 2.5x10-5 m/s by Goerke et al. (2002) and 1 – 3x10-5 m/s by Schneider et al. (1995) for similar systems. The addition of 0.2 v/v PFOB leads to an increase in the membrane oxygenator mass transfer coefficient by a factor of about 30, and an increase in oxygen carrying capacity by a factor of about 4.5. It was also shown that suitable PFOB emulsions can have a significant impact on the growth and function of hepatocytes in a BALSS.
Thesis (PhD (Chemical Engineering))--University of Pretoria, 2005.