Translational studies have explored the therapeutic effects of stem cells, raising hopes for the treatment of numerous diseases. Here, we evaluated the therapeutic effect of chorionic plate-derived mesenchymal stem cells (CP-MSCs) isolated from human placenta and transplanted into rats with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-injured livers. CP-MSCs were analyzed for hepatocyte-specific gene expression, indocyanine green (ICG) uptake, glycogen storage, and urea production following hepatogenic differentiation. PKH26-labeled CP-MSCs were directly transplanted into the livers of rats that had been exposed to CCl4 (1.6 g/kg, twice per week for 9 weeks). Blood and liver tissue were analyzed at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-transplantation. The expression of type I collagen (Col I) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) was analyzed in rat T-HSC/Cl-6 hepatic stellate cells co-cultured with CP-MSCs following exposure to TGF-β. The expression levels of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and Col I were lower in transplanted (TP) rats than in non-transplanted (Non-TP) animals (P < 0.05), whereas the expression levels of albumin and MMP-9 were increased. TP rats exhibited significantly higher uptake/excretion of ICG than non-TP rats (P < 0.005). In addition, collagen synthesis in T-HSC/Cl-6 cells exposed to TGF-β was decreased by co-culture with CP-MSCs, which triggered the activation of MMP-2 and MMP-9. These results contribute to our understanding of the potential pathophysiological roles of CP-MSCs, including anti-fibrotic effects in liver disease, and provide a foundation for the development of new cell therapy-based strategies for the treatment of difficult-to-treat liver diseases. J. Cell. Biochem. 111: 1453–1463, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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