Prospects for stem cell transplantation in the treatment of hepatic disease

Authors

  • Benjamin M. Stutchfield,

    Corresponding author
    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research and MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • c/o Stephen J. Wigmore, MD, FRCS, Medical Research Council Centre for Inflammation Research and Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Queen's Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 4TJ, United Kingdom
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    • Telephone: +44 131 242 1000

  • Stuart J. Forbes,

    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research and MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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  • Stephen J. Wigmore

    1. MRC Centre for Inflammation Research and MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Stem cell therapy has the potential to provide a valuable adjunct to the management of hepatic disease. Preclinical studies have demonstrated a range of endogenous repair processes that can be exploited through stem cell therapy. Initial translational studies have been encouraging and have suggested improved liver function in advanced chronic liver disease and enhanced liver regeneration after portal vein embolization. This article reviews the potential for stem cell therapies to enhance hepatic regeneration in acute and chronic hepatic disease and is based on a MEDLINE and PubMed search for English language articles investigating mechanisms of hepatic regeneration and delivery of cell therapies. Two main mechanisms of potential stem cell therapy delivery have emerged: (1) a direct contribution to the functional hepatocyte population with embryonic, induced pluripotent, or adult stem cells and (2) the promotion of endogenous regenerative processes with bone marrow–derived stem cells. Bioartificial hepatic support systems may be proven to be an effective method of using ex vivo differentiated hepatocytes and be indicated as a bridging therapy to definitive surgery in acute liver failure. The administration of bone marrow–derived stem cells may enhance liver regeneration in chronic liver disease after portal vein embolization and could facilitate regeneration after partial hepatic resection. Ultimately, the most appropriate hepatic disease targets for stem cell therapies will become apparent as mechanisms of stem involvement in hepatic regeneration are further elucidated. Liver Transpl 16:827–836, 2010. © 2010 AASLD.

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