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Adult-Derived Human Liver Mesenchymal-Like Cells as a Potential Progenitor Reservoir of Hepatocytes?

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It is currently accepted that adult tissues may develop and maintain their own stem cell pools. Because of their higher safety profile, adult stem cells may represent an ideal candidate cell source to be used for liver cell therapies. We therefore evaluated the differentiation potential of mesenchymal-like cells isolated from adult human livers. Mesenchymal-like cells were isolated from enzymatically digested adult human liver and expanded in vitro. Cell characterization was performed using flow cytometry, RT-PCR, and immunofluorescence, whereas the differentiation potential was evaluated both in vitro after incubation with specific media and in vivo after intrasplenic transplantation of uPA+/+-SCID and SCID mice. Adult-derived human liver mesenchymal-like cells expressed both hepatic and mesenchymal markers among which albumin, CYP3A4, vimentin, and α-smooth muscle actin. In vitro differentiation studies demonstrated that these mesenchymal-like cells are preferentially determined to differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells. Ten weeks following intrasplenic transplantation into uPA+/+-SCID mice, recipient livers showed the presence of human hepatocytic cell nodules positive for human albumin, prealbumin, and α-fetoprotein. In SCID transplanted liver mice, human hepatocyte-like cells were mostly found near vascular structures 56 days posttransplantation. In conclusion, the ability of isolated adult-derived liver mesenchymal stem-like cells to proliferate and differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells both in vitro and in vivo leads to propose them as an attractive expandable cell source for stem cell therapy in human liver diseases.

Keywords: Cell therapy; Differentiation; SCID mice; Stem cells; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Université catholique de Louvain, Laboratory of Pediatric Hepatology & Cell Therapy, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium 2: Université catholique de Louvain, Radiodiagnostic, Cliniques universitaires St-Luc, B-1200, Brussels, Belgium 3: Université catholique de Louvain, Anatomo-pathology, Cliniques universitaires St-Luc, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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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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