Summary Repopulation of the liver with transplanted cells holds significant promise for developing novel therapies. The liver is a most suitable target for treating a variety of genetic, metabolic and acquired diseases. Liver disease, such as chronic viral hepatitis, constitutes an enormous burden worldwide. Advancing liver cell therapy requires insights into mechanisms of cell engraftment and proliferation, as well as unique requirements of specific diseases for correction by cell transplantation. This review highlights recent developments in the area of hepatocyte transplantation. Aspects concerning modulation of cell engraftment, regulation of gene expression and proliferation of transplanted cells are discussed. Other issues concern the current status of clinical applications of hepatocyte transplantation, as well as novel sources of cells that could benefit cell therapy in the future. The general conclusion is that cell therapy has become more practical in recent years and insights into how the normal liver and the diseased liver can be repopulated will offer effective ways to treat many disorders in the near future.
© 2002 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd