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Keywords:

  • α–SMA;
  • cirrhosis;
  • collagen type I;
  • human umbilical cord blood (HUCB);
  • mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs);
  • TGF-β1

Abstract

Background/Aim: Cirrhosis is a long-term consequence of chronic hepatic injury and no effective therapy is currently available for this disease. Recent reports have shown that the mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the capacity to differentiate into hepatocytes, and umbilical cord blood is a rich source of MSCs. Hence, we investigated the effect of infusing of human umbilical cord blood-derived MSCs (HMSCs) in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced cirrhosis in a rat model.

Methods: The effect of HMSCs on cirrhosis was evaluated using haematoxylin and eosin and Masson's trichrome staining. To evaluate cirrhosis-related factors, we measured protein and mRNA expression of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), collagen type I and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA).

Results: Histological findings showed that liver fibrosis in rats was alleviated by HMSCs infusion. Interestingly, CM-DiI-labelled HMSCs expressed the hepatocyte-specific markers, human albumin and α-fetoprotein. Infusion of HMSCs significantly inhibited TGF-β1, collagen type I and α-SMA expressions in CCl4-induced cirrhotic rats.

Conclusion: Our results showed that HMSCs infusion could improve liver fibrosis in rats with CCl4-induced cirrhosis, raising the possibility for clinical use of HMSCs in the treatment of cirrhosis.