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Transplantation of endothelial progenitor cells ameliorates vascular dysfunction and portal hypertension in carbon tetrachloride-induced rat liver cirrhotic model

Authors

  • Masaharu Sakamoto,

    1. Department of Gastroenterology and Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan
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  • Toru Nakamura,

    Corresponding author
    1. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
    • Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
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  • Takuji Torimura,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
    2. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Hideki Iwamoto,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
    2. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Hiroshi Masuda,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
    2. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Hironori Koga,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
    2. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Mitsuhiko Abe,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
    2. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Osamu Hashimoto,

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
    2. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Takato Ueno,

    1. Liver Cancer Division, Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University, Kurume, Japan
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  • Michio Sata

    1. Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, Kurume, Japan
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  • All authors agree to submission of this manuscript and there is no conflict to disclose.

Correspondence

Dr Toru Nakamura, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume, Fukuoka 830-0011, Japan. Email: ntoru@med.kurume-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Background and Aim

In cirrhosis, sinusoidal endothelial cell injury results in increased endothelin-1 (ET-1) and decreased nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity, leading to portal hypertension. However, the effects of transplanted endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) on the cirrhotic liver have not yet been clarified. We investigated whether EPC transplantation reduces portal hypertension.

Methods

Cirrhotic rats were created by the administration of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) twice weekly for 10 weeks. From week 7, rat bone marrow-derived EPCs were injected via the tail vein in this model once a week for 4 weeks. Endothelial NOS (eNOS), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and caveolin expressions were examined by Western blots. Hepatic tissue ET-1 was measured by a radioimmunoassay (RIA). Portal venous pressure, mean aortic pressure, and hepatic blood flow were measured.

Results

Endothelial progenitor cell transplantation reduced liver fibrosis, α-smooth muscle actin-positive cells, caveolin expression, ET-1 concentration and portal venous pressure. EPC transplantation increased hepatic blood flow, protein levels of eNOS and VEGF. Immunohistochemical analyses of eNOS and isolectin B4 demonstrated that the livers of EPC-transplanted animals had markedly increased vascular density, suggesting reconstitution of sinusoidal blood vessels with endothelium.

Conclusions

Transplantation of EPCs ameliorates vascular dysfunction and portal hypertension, suggesting this treatment may provide a new approach in the therapy of portal hypertension with liver cirrhosis.

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