Adult skin stem cell-derived in vitro model of hepatic steatosis

Commonly used acronym: Steatosis model

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Species from which cells/tissues/organs are derived
Type of cells/tissues/organs
Skin-derived adult stem cells
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
Human skin-derived hepatic cells


Method keywords
  • Stem cells
  • differentiation
  • Gene expression
  • in vitro
  • Lipids
Scientific area keywords
  • Steatosis
  • liver
  • metabolic syndrome
  • lifestyle
  • hepatology
Method description

Human skin-derived adult stem cells differentiated towards hepatic cells (hSKP-HPC) are used in this method (R. M. Rodrigues et al., Stem Cells Dev. 23, 44–55 (2014)). These cells are exposed to a cocktail of insulin and glucose at certain concentrations. After 24h of exposure, these cells exhibit a strong induction of lipogenic genes and accumulate neutral lipids. Using this model, potential new anti-steatotis and anti-non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) drugs can be tested for their anti-steatotic potentials. The read-outs for this in vitro disease model are (i) gene expression analysis and (ii) neutral lipids quantification.

Lab equipment
  • Biosafety cabinet;
  • Flow-cytometer;
  • RT-qPCR;
  • Cell culture equipment.
Method status
  • Still in development

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • Fast (24h);
  • Human-relevant.

Lipid load is only +/- 1.5 -2 x fold higher in the steatosis condition vs the control condition


Addition of other sugars

Future & Other applications

The main application is located in preclinical drug testing

References, associated documents and other information


R. M. Rodrigues et al., Stem Cells Dev. 23, 44–55 (2014). R. M. Rodrigues et al., Arch. Toxicol. 90, 677–689 (2016)

Contact person

Joost Boeckmans


Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences
In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology
Brussels Region