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Human foreskin fibroblast-like stromal cells can differentiate into functional hepatocytic cells

Authors

  • Hsing-I Huang,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medical Biotechnology and Laboratory Science, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C.
    2. Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Shao-Kuan Chen,

    1. Department of Urology, Cathay General Hospital, Xizhi, Taiwan
    2. Cathay Medical Research Institute, Cathay General Hospital, Xizhi, Taiwan
    3. Department of Medicine, Fu-Jen Catholic University, New Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Robert Y.-L. Wang,

    1. Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C.
    2. Department of Biomedical Sciences, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Chia-Rui Shen,

    1. Department of Medical Biotechnology and Laboratory Science, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C.
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  • Yu-Che Cheng

    1. Cathay Medical Research Institute, Cathay General Hospital, Xizhi, Taiwan
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Abstract

Foreskin fibroblast-like stromal cells (FDSCs) are progenitors isolated from human tissue that can differentiate into diverse cell types. Many types of stem cells can differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells, which could be used for drug testing or in liver regeneration therapy, but whether FDSCs can be converted into functional hepatocytes is unknown. FDSCs show divergent properties when cultured in distinct media, forming spheres in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM) containing F12, epidermal growth factor (EGF), and basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF), but have fibroblast-like morphology when cultured in DMEM-based growth medium. Both cell populations express the typical mesenchymal stem cell markers CD90, CD105, and CD73, but the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) was detected only in FDSC spheres. Both types of FDSCs can differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells, which express typical liver markers, including albumin and hepatocyte paraffin 1 (Hep Par1), along with liver-specific biological activities. When plasmids containing the human hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome were transfected transiently into FDSCs, differentiated hepatocyte-like cells secrete large amounts of HBe and HBs antigens. FDSCs could be used for clinical hepatic therapy and/or serve as a model of HBV.

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