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Expansion of Hepatic and Hematopoietic Stem Cells Utilizing Mouse Embryonic Liver Explants

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Ex vivo embryonic liver explant culture is a novel and attractive approach to obtain abundant hepatic and hematopoietic stem cells. Gene therapy of autologous hepatic and hematopoietic stem cells represents an alternative therapeutic approach to liver transplantation for genetic and metabolic disorders. In this study we characterize the growth and differentiation of hepatic stem cells utilizing embryonic liver cultures. Day 9.5 liver buds are microdissected and cultured under specific conditions. Modulation of growth conditions by addition of hepatocyte growth factor, Flt-3 ligand, and stem cell factor leads to enrichment of hepatic progenitor cells in embryonic liver explants. Under these conditions, we also demonstrate the role of a novel marker PRAJA-1 to identify hepatic stem cells and transitional hepatocytes. Utilization of dexamethasone enhanced pseudolobule formation with increased hepatocytic and biliary differentiation. Transforming growth factor-β leads to enrichment of biliary cells in the culture. Gut formation is enhanced in the presence of interleukin-3 and blood formation by increasing the mesodermal tissue in these cultures. We also show increased retroviral-mediated expression of the green fluorescent protein expression in the expanded hepatic and hematopoietic stem cells under different culture conditions. Thus, the embryonic liver explant culture is an attractive source for hepatic progenitors and is a possible step towards generating nontumorigenic immortalized hepatocytes with possible transplantation applications.

Keywords: Culture; Development; Key words: Liver; Stem cells

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Laboratory of GI Development and Molecular Biology, DVAMC, Washington, DC 20422, and Fels Cancer Institute, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 19140 2: †Clinical Gene Therapy Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892 3: ‡GI Pathology, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD 21287

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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