In Vitro Model of Liver Steatosis for Screening of Drug Compounds

The decrease in liver steatosis in hepatocytes cultured in steatosis reducing medium.

Invention Summary:

Donor livers are frequently rejected due to high intracellular fat content, called steatosis, which increases the risk of primary graft non-function in transplant patients. Because liver transplantation remains the only effective treatment for end-stage liver disease, the inability to use steatotic livers significantly contributes to the worldwide donor liver shortage. Though several compounds have been identified for their potential to de-fatten steatotic livers, there is a need for further investigation into their ability to restore function to currently unusable livers.

In order to facilitate further study of liver steatosis, Rutgers inventors have developed an in vitro culturing platform that is capable of inducing macrosteatosis in liver cells. This model of macrosteatosis has been used to successfully screen for de-fatting agents that could be used to reverse liver steatosis, thus increasing the pool of usable donor livers.

Market Applications:

  • Laboratory study of liver regulatory pathways, including lipid metabolism
  • Screening of de-fatting agents


  • in vitro hepatocyte culture platform
  • in vitro induction of macrosteatosis
  • Suitable for high throughput screening of de-fatting agents

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
Lisa Lyu
Assistant Director
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Drug Discovery/Screening