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Open Access Transplantation of Human Amnion Epithelial Cells Reduces Hepatic Fibrosis in Immunocompetent CCl4-Treated Mice

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Chronic liver injury and inflammation lead to hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. Embryonic and mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to reduce experimental liver fibrosis but have potential limitations, including the formation of dysplastic precursors, tumors, and profibrogenic cells. Other stem-like cells may reduce hepatic inflammation and fibrosis without tumor and profibrogenic cell formation. To test this hypothesis we transplanted human amnion epithelial cells (hAEC), isolated from term delivered placenta, into immunocompetent C57/BL6 mice at week 2 of a 4-week regimen of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) exposure to induce liver fibrosis. Two weeks following hAEC infusion, intact cells expressing the human-specific markers inner mitochondrial membrane protein and human leukocyte antigen-G were found in mouse liver without evidence of host rejection of the transplanted cells. Human albumin, known to be produced by hAEC, was detected in sera of hAEC-treated mice. Human DNA was detected in mouse liver and also spleen, lungs, and heart of some animals. Following hAEC transplantation, CCl4-treated animals showed decreased serum ALT levels and reduced hepatocyte apoptosis, compared to controls. hAEC-treated mouse liver had lower TNF-α and IL-6 protein levels and higher IL-10 compared to animals given CCl4 alone. Compared to CCl4 controls, hAEC-treated mice showed fewer activated collagen-producing hepatic stellate cells and less fibrosis area and collagen content. Reduced hepatic TGF- levels in conjunction with a twofold increase in the active form of the collagen-degrading enzyme matrix metalloproteinase-2 in hAEC-treated mice compared to CCl4 controls may account for the reduction in fibrosis. hAEC transplantation into immunocompetent mice leads to cell engraftment, reduced hepatocyte apoptosis, and decreased hepatic inflammation and fibrosis.

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Keywords: Amnion epithelial cells; Cellular therapy; Hepatic inflammation; Liver fibrosis; Xenotransplantation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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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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