Best Practices and Progress in Precision-Cut Liver Slice Cultures

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Thirty-five years ago, precision-cut liver slices (PCLS) were described as a promising tool and were expected to become the standard in vitro model to study liver disease as they tick off all characteristics of a good in vitro model. In contrast to most in vitro models, PCLS retain the complex 3D liver structures found in vivo, including cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and therefore should constitute the most reliable tool to model and to investigate pathways underlying chronic liver disease in vitro. Nevertheless, the biggest disadvantage of the model is the initiation of a procedure-induced fibrotic response. In this review, we describe the parameters and potential of PCLS cultures and discuss whether the initially described limitations and pitfalls have been overcome. We summarize the latest advances in PCLS research and critically evaluate PCLS use and progress since its invention in 1985.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7137
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Liver/cytology
  • Liver Diseases/metabolism
  • Microtomy/methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Tissue Culture Techniques/methods


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