Mature liver cells may be better than stem cells for liver cell transplantation therapy

June 4, 2012

After carrying out a study comparing the repopulation efficiency of immature hepatic stem/progenitor cells and mature hepatocytes transplanted into liver-injured rats, a research team from Sapporo, Japan concluded that mature hepatocytes offered better repopulation efficiency than stem/progenitor cells.

Until day 14 post-transplantation, the growth of the stem/progenitor cells was faster than the mature hepatocytes, but after two weeks most of the stem/progenitor cells had died. However, the mature hepatocytes continued to survive and proliferate one year after their implantation.

The study is published in (21:1), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/.

"Cell-based therapies as an alternative to to treat have shown promise," said study corresponding author Dr. Toshihiro Mitaka of the Cancer Research Institute of the Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan. "However, the repopulation efficiency of two candidate cell sources - hepatic progenitor/stem cells and mature hepatocytes - had not been comprehensively assessed and questions concerning the efficiency of each needed to be resolved."

The researchers noted that the shortage of cell sources and the difficulties of have limited the of cell based therapies. Stem or progenitor cells have been considered candidate cells because they can expand in vitro and can be cryopreserved for a long time.

However, after transplantation into liver injured rats, the researchers found that stem/progenitor cells did not survive well and most of the transplanted cells had disappeared within two months. In contrast, the mature hepatocytes gradually repopulated the rat livers and continued doing so past one year.

The researchers noted that the sizes of the hepatocytes were not uniform.

"Unexpectedly, the small hepatocytes repopulated significantly less well than the larger ones," explained Dr. Mitaka. "We also found that serial transplantation did not enhance nor diminish the repopulation capacity of the cells to any significant degree."

The researchers concluded that because the stem/progenitor cells had died much earlier than the mature hepatocytes, most were immediately excluded from the host livers, reducing their potential impact on liver generation.

"Further experiments are required to clarify the mechanism by which this might occur," concluded the authors.

"This study suggests that mature hepatocytes may be a better treatment option than " said Dr. Stephen Strom of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden and section editor for Cell Transplantation. "However, determining the factors that allow for the survival and continued growth of the stem/progenitor and mature hepatocytes could be relevant for future improvements of hepatocyte transplantation in the clinic".

Explore further: Restoring what's lost: Uncovering how liver tissue regenerates

More information: Ichinohe, N.; Kon, J.; Sasaki, K.; Nakamura, Y.; Ooe H.; Tanimizu, N.; Mitaka, T. Growth ability and repopulation efficiency of transplanted hepatic stem cells, progenitor cells, and mature hepatocytes in retrorsine-treated rat livers. Cell Transplant. 21(1):11-22; 2012.

Related Stories

Restoring what's lost: Uncovering how liver tissue regenerates

March 12, 2012
The liver is unique among mammalian organs in its ability to regenerate after significant tissue damage or even partial surgical removal.

Recommended for you

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments

November 17, 2017
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels.

Age and gut bacteria contribute to multiple sclerosis disease progression

November 17, 2017
Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School published a study suggesting that gut bacteria at young age can contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) disease onset and progression.

Molecular guardian defends cells, organs against excess cholesterol

November 16, 2017
A team of researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, ...

Prototype ear plug sensor could improve monitoring of vital signs

November 16, 2017
Scientists have developed a sensor that fits in the ear, with the aim of monitoring the heart, brain and lungs functions for health and fitness.

Ancient enzyme could boost power of liquid biopsies to detect and profile cancers

November 16, 2017
Scientists are developing a set of medical tests called liquid biopsies that can rapidly detect the presence of cancers, infectious diseases and other conditions from only a small blood sample. Researchers at The University ...

FDA to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

November 16, 2017
U.S. health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.