Adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells as a source of human hepatocytes


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report


Recent observations indicate that several stem cells can differentiate into hepatocytes; thus, cell-based therapy is a potential alternative to liver transplantation. The goal of the present study was to examine the in vitro hepatic differentiation potential of adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AT-MSCs). We used AT-MSCs from different age patients and found that, after incubation with specific growth factors (hepatocyte growth factor [HGF], fibroblast growth factor [FGF1], FGF4) the CD105+ fraction of AT-MSCs exhibited high hepatic differentiation ability in an adherent monoculture condition. CD105+ AT-MSC-derived hepatocyte-like cells revealed several liver-specific markers and functions, such as albumin production, low-density lipoprotein uptake, and ammonia detoxification. More importantly, CD105+ AT-MSC-derived hepatocyte-like cells, after transplantation into mice incorporated into the parenchyma of the liver. Conclusion: Adipose tissue is a source of multipotent stem cells that can be easily isolated, selected, and induced into mature, transplantable hepatocytes. The fact that they are easy to procure ex vivo in large numbers makes them an attractive tool for clinical studies in the context of establishing an alternative therapy for liver dysfunction. (HEPATOLOGY 2007;46:219–228.)