Autologous Bone Marrow Infusion Activates the Progenitor Cell Compartment in Patients With Advanced Liver Cirrhosis
Several clinical trials of bone marrow cell infusion in patients with liver cirrhosis (LC) have shown clinical improvement, despite conflicting results from animal models. We investigated serial pathological features and the clinical impact after autologous bone marrow infusion (ABMI) in patients with advanced LC. Ten patients with advanced LC due to chronic hepatitis B virus infection underwent ABMI. Serological tests, MRI, and liver biopsies were performed, and quality of life was assessed by a questionnaire. Median serum albumin and hemoglobin levels increased significantly after ABMI. All patients showed an improvement in quality of life, with no serious adverse events. Liver volume, measured by MRI, increased in 80% of the patients, and ascites decreased after ABMI. Child-Pugh scores were also significantly improved at 6 months after ABMI. In the serially biopsied livers, a gradually increasing activation of the hepatic progenitor cell (HPC) compartment, including HPC activation (ductular reaction) and HPC differentiation (intermediate hepatocyte), reached a peak after 3 months, with continued proliferation of hepatocytes, and returned to baseline levels after 6 months. There was no significant change in grade or stage of liver fibrosis or stellate cell activation after ABMI. ABMI is suggested to improve liver function and to activate the progenitor cell compartment. Although clinical improvement was sustained for more than 6 months, histological changes in the liver returned to baseline 6 months after ABMI. Further comparative studies are warranted.
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