Gallbladder shown as potential stem cell source for regenerative liver and metabolic disease
A new study presented today at the International Liver Congress 2012 indicates the potential for gallbladder tissue (which is routinely discarded from organ donors and surgical interventions) to be a highly available candidate source for multipotential stem cells.
Biliary tree stem/progenitor cells (BTSCs) have previously been identified in the glands of normal adult human extrahepatic bile ducts and been shown to generate in vitro and in vivo mature cells of the hepato-biliary and pancreatic endocrine lineages.
The study found both normal and pathological gallbladders contained easily isolable cells with the phenotype and biological properties of BTSCs. Interestingly, in an animal model, these cells were able to repopulate the injured liver and to improve synthetic functions.
These data open novel perspectives for the collection and use of multipotent stem cells in regenerative therapies of liver, bile duct, and pancreatic diseases including diabetes.