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Open Access Impaired Hepatocyte Regeneration in Acute Severe Hepatic Injury Enhances Effective Repopulation by Transplanted Hepatocytes

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Efficient repopulation by transplanted hepatocytes in the severely injured liver is essential for their clinical application in the treatment of acute hepatic failure. We studied here whether and how the transplanted hepatocytes are able to efficiently repopulate the toxin-induced acute injured liver. Male dipeptidyl peptidase IV-deficient F344 rats were randomized to receive retrorsine plus D-galactosamine (R+D-gal) treatment or D-galactosamine-alone (D-gal) to induce acute hepatic injury, and retrorsine-alone. In these models, retrorsine was used to inhibit the proliferation of endogenous hepatocytes while D-galactosamine induced acute hepatocyte damage. Wild-type hepatocytes (1 × 107/ml) were transplanted intraportally 24 h after D-galactosamine or saline injection. The kinetics of proliferation and repopulation of transplanted cells and the kinetics of cytokine response, hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP2) expression were analyzed. We observed that early entry of transplanted hepatocytes into the hepatic plates and massive repopulation of the liver by transplanted hepatocytes occurred in acute hepatic injury induced by R+D-gal treatment but not by D-gal-alone or retrorsine-alone. The expressions of transforming growth factor-α and hepatocyte growth factor genes in the R+D-gal injured liver were significantly upregulated and prolonged up to 4 weeks after hepatocyte transplantation. The expression kinetics were parallel with the efficient proliferation and repopulation of transplanted hepatocytes. HSC was activated rapidly, markedly, and prolongedly up to 4 weeks after hepatocyte transplantation, when the expression of HGF gene and repopulation of transplanted hepatocytes were reduced afterward. Furthermore, the expression kinetics of MMP2 and its specific distribution in the host areas surrounding the expanding clusters of transplanted hepatocytes are consistent with those of activated HSC. Impaired hepatocyte regeneration after acute severe hepatic injury may initiate serial compensatory repair mechanisms that facilitate the extensive repopulation by transplanted hepatocytes that enter early the hepatic plates.

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Keywords: D-Galactosamine; Growth factor; Liver failure; Regeneration; Retrorsine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Pediatrics, Buddhist Tzu-Chi General Hospital, Taipei Branch, and Buddhist Tzu-Chi University College of Medicine, Hualien, Taiwan

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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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.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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