Medical School

Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

Department of Pediatrics

Liver Tissue Cell Distribution System

Human Hepatocytes and Liver Tissue for Scientific Investigation

The Liver Tissue Cell Distribution System (LTCDS) is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) service contract to provide human liver tissue from regional centers for distribution to scientific investigators throughout the United States. These USA regional centers have active liver transplant programs with human subjects approval to provide portions of the resected pathologic liver for which the transplant is performed. Frozen or fresh tissue is available from subcontractors for the usual forms of childhood and adult cirrhosis, fulminate liver failure, chronic rejection, and certain inborn errors of metabolism. In addition LTCDS provides "normal" human liver tissue (primarily frozen), slides, and tissue blocks, and rarely other liver cell types in culture.  Although not part of the LTCDS NIH contract, hepatic non-parenchymal cells are also potentially available through Dr. David Geller's lab at the University of Pittsburgh.

This service also provides isolated hepatocytes only to NIH investigators from "normal" human liver. NIH investigators are always given preference for tissue requests. Supporting letters for NIH new or renewal grant requests can be provided.  Click the gray tabs below to view more information about LTCDS. 

Direct Inquiries To:

Glenn Gourley, MD
Principal Investigator, LTCDS


Jane Cattell
LTCDS Coordinator
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition
East Building, 6th Floor
2450 Riverside Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Phone: (612) 624-1998
Fax: (612) 626-0639

Resources and More Information
  • Program Description

    The University of Minnesota has established the Liver Tissue Cell Distribution System (LTCDS) as a network of two geographically distributed tissue collection centers under subcontract and one clinical center.

    LTCDS is to serve as a resource for investigators to obtain human liver tissue for scientific investigation. This liver tissue system:

    1. Collects portions of liver removed from liver transplant recipients at surgery
    2. Collects and provides normal liver tissue to investigators if the tissue from organ donations cannot be used for the recipient because of size, state of anoxia, etc. (a very rare event).
    3. Develops and maintains the capacity to retrieve, preserve, and deliver available tissues in such condition as will be useful to investigators conducting biomedical research projects at institutions throughout the United States.
    4. Provides normal human hepatocytes in culture.
    • A review mechanism has been established and operates to ensure each application received is reviewed for completeness and feasibility. Consultants may be used as necessary. Complete protocols for preservation and shipping must be negotiated in advance of obtaining tissue for each request. A review mechanism has been established to prioritize applications according to scientific merit and relevance. Investigators wishing to receive tissue to be used in NIH-funded projects shall receive highest priority under normal circumstances.
    • The contractor, in conjunction with the Tissue Collection Centers, shall establish a set of fees to be charged to and collected from investigators for shipping and handling of tissues. Investigators will not be obligated to pay these fees if tissues cannot be used due to damage.
    • To the extent possible, the contractor shall coordinate the efforts of participating Tissue Collection Centers in the formulation of standards for assessing the viability of tissue to be used for various research purposes. Such standards would then guide the development and use of standardized retrieval, preservation, and transportation protocols.
    • An information storage and management system has been established to ensure that tissues are procured from appropriate Tissue Collection Centers in response to investigators' requests, processed according to pre-established protocols, and delivered in a timely way. The system also ensures that a high degree of quality control is maintained. We have the capability to store and retrieve complete data regarding tissue availability, donor information, requirements of the investigator, protocols for retrieval, preservation and transportation, and written feedback from investigators regarding viability of received tissue and summaries of the research in which the tissue was used.
    • LTCDS will provide synopsis of the medical history of a tissue donor, together with available laboratory data, to the investigator receiving the liver tissue when it is requested in the original proposal. A diagnostic slide will be prepared for each sample for confirmation of liver pathology when requested.
    • A Coordinating Committee has been established to review the proposed operating procedures, quality control procedures, tissue processing procedures, information storage and management procedures, and other operating policies as required to ensure equitable access to the system. It is the collective responsibility of the contractor and the NIDDK to form the membership of the Coordinating Committee and for that committee to appoint a chairperson.
  • List of Specimens and Pricing
    On May 15, 2014 we received the following notice from the NIH:
    Subject:     Contract No. HHSN276201200017C
                     “Liver Tissue and Cell Distribution System”
                      Recipient Reimbursement Procedures
    Effective immediately, any and all receipts received under the subject contract from the sale of materials, including but not limited to data, publications, biosamples, tissues, and human materials, from non-federal entities (grantees, contractors and other private organizations) shall not be applied as credits on invoices submitted to the Government against this contract.  This change is a result of a recent determination made by NIH’s Head of Contracting Activity based on a recommendation from the DHHS Office of General Counsel (OGC).
    While NIDDK fully considers its options to continue offering this resource to outside researchers for a cost, you are hereby directed to continue providing the services and materials required by the statement of work that previously included the sale of materials to outside entities, providing these at no cost or charge to the customer.”
    Investigators will continue to pay their own shipping costs by providing a FedEx account number with their request.


    • Abcess Portal Fibrosis
    • Adenoma
    • *Adult Reyes Syndrome
    • Alagille’s (Arteriohepatic Dysplasia)
    • Alcoholic (ETOH) Cirrhosis
    • Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD)
    • (Unspecified)
    • Alcoholic Liver Disease/Hepatitis C
    • Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency
    • Amyloidosis
    • Bile Duct Paucity
    • Biliary Atresia (Extra-Hepatic)
    • Biliary Cirrhosis (Primary)
    • Biliary Cirrhosis (Secondary)
    • Budd Chiari
    • Byler’s (Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis)
    • Cholangio Carcinoma
    • Cholangio Hepatitis
    • Choledocal Cyst
    • Chronic Cholecystitis
    • Cirrhosis (Unspecified)
    • Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis (ARPLKD)
    • Cryptogenic Cirrhosis
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • Cystic Liver Diseases (ADPLKD)
    • Fulminant Liver Failure (Drug Induced)
    • *Fulminant Liver Failure (Hepatitis A)
    • Fulminant Liver Failure (Hepatitis B)
    • Fulminant Liver Failure (Unspecified)
    • Fulminant Liver Failure (Viral Induced)
    • *Giant Simple Cyst
    • Glycogenosis Type I
    • Glycogenosis Type IV
    • Hemangioendothelioma
    • Hemochromatosis (Genetic)
    • *Hemochromatosis (Neonatal)
    • Hepatic Artery Thrombosis
    • Hepatic Carcinoma (Metastasis)
    • Hepatitis (Auto-Immune)
    • Hepatitis (Neonatal)
    • Hepatitis (Other, Infective)
    • Hepatitis (Type B) Cirrhosis
    • Hepatitis (Type C) Cirrhosis
    • Hepatitis (Types B-C) Cirrhosis
    • Hepatitis (Types B-D) Cirrhosis
    • Hepatoblastoma
    • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
    • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Alcoholic Cirrhosis)
    • *Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Fibrolamellar)
    • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Hepatitis B)
    • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Hepatitis C)
    • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Hepatitis B & C))
    • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Other
    • Defined Relationships)
    • Hepatoma
    • Liver Disease Assoc. w/TPN
    • Metastatic Adenocarcinoma
    • NASH (Fatty Liver)
    • NASH (No Longer Fatty)
    • Normal
    • Other Diagnoses(pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor)
    • Oxalosis
    • Peliosis Hepaticus
    • Primary Hyperoxaluria Type I
    • Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
    • Protoporphyria
    • *Rejection, Allograft (Acute)
    • Rejection, Chronic
    • Sub-acute Hepatic Failure
    • Tyrosinemia
    • Urea Cycle Deficiency
    • Vascular Thrombosis
    • Wilson’s
    • Wolman’s

    * currently not available

  • Investigator Proposal Form and Instructions

    Your proposal can be sent via e-mail ( or fax (612-626-0639). You will be required to provide to our office updated information on a regular basis to include any specimen requirement changes, publications resulting from specimens obtained through LTCDS, etc.

    Should your institution require it, please provide us with a purchase order number prior to shipment of tissues or hepatocytes.

    Human Subjects Status of your Research

    We are now requesting documentation showing your exempt or approved status of your research when you submit your Proposal Form.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at 612-624-1998.

    Download the Investigator Proposal Form (Word document).

  • LTCDS Publication Referencing Information


    It is important to reference the LTCDS program in any publications that result from this collaboration. If you have a publication that has referenced the LTCDS program please send us an URL link or a pdf copy for our records at



    Please reference NIH Contract #N01-DK-7-0004 / HHSN267200700004C.

    Sample sentence:

    [Normal human liver] [Pathologic human liver] [Normal human hepatocytes] was/were obtained through the Liver Tissue Cell Distribution System, [Minneapolis, Minnesota] [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] [Richmond, Virginia], which was funded by NIH Contract #N01-DK-7-0004 / HHSN267200700004C.


    Please reference NIH Contract #HHSN276201200017C.

    Sample Sentence:

    [Normal human liver] [Pathologic human liver] [Normal human hepatocytes] was/were obtained through the Liver Tissue Cell Distribution System, [Minneapolis, Minnesota] [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], which was funded by NIH Contract # HHSN276201200017C.

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  • Last modified on May 21, 2014