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In Vivo Differentiation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells Into Hepatocytes

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Embryonic stem (ES) cells have been regarded as a powerful resource for cell replacement therapy. In recent reports mouse ES cells have been successfully applied in the treatment of spinal cord injury, hereditary myelin disorder of the central nervous system, and diabetes mellitus. Another type of disease that could benefit from the availability of stem cell therapy is liver disease. However, for this potential to be realized, it is necessary to demonstrate the differentiation of ES cells into hepatocytes. To demonstrate the in vivo differentiation potential of mouse ES cells, we injected ES cells into the spleen of immunosuppressed nude mice. Histological analysis of teratomas derived from injected ES cells revealed that some areas contained typical hepatocytes arranged in a sinusoidal structure. The hepatic nature of these cells was further confirmed by showing that transcripts of liver-specific genes were present in the differentiated teratoma using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry using several liver-specific antibodies including HEP-PAR, phenylalanine hydroxylase, and mouse N-system aminotransferase to identify the respective proteins in the differentiated hepatocytes. This is the first demonstration that mouse ES cells can differentiate in vivo into a mixed population of hepatocytes of varying maturity. This finding extends the potential use of ES cells in the cell replacement therapy by including its possible application for treating liver diseases.

Keywords: Differentiation; H; Key words: Embryonic stem cell

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Division of Genetic Disease, Department of Biomedical Science, National Institute of Health, Seoul 122-701, Korea 2: †Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900 3: ‡Research Institute of Immunology, Catholic Institutes of Medical Science, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Korea 4: §Department of Pathology, SongDo Hospital, Seoul 100-453, Korea 5: ¶Department of Biochemistry, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia 6: #Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul 130-650, Korea 7: **Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University Medial School, Seoul 120-752, Korea

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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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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