Part of this work was presented as an Abstract at the EASL Conference, 2008.
Expression of liver-specific markers in naïve adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2009
© 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Volume 29, Issue 9, pages 1326–1337, October 2009
How to Cite
Zemel, R., Bachmetov, L., Ad-El, D., Abraham, A. and Tur-Kaspa, R. (2009), Expression of liver-specific markers in naïve adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Liver International, 29: 1326–1337. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2009.02054.x
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 9 JUN 2009
- Received 18 February 2009Accepted 25 April 2009
- adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADMSC);
- adipose tissue;
- hepatic differentiation;
- mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)
Background: Increasing evidence suggests that adipose tissue contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) that possess the ability to transdifferentiate into other cell types including hepatocytes, similar to bone marrow-derived stem cells. The existence of precommitted cells in the MSC population may explain transdifferentiation.
Aims: Our aim was to identify a population of putative hepatocyte-like precursor cells in human adipose tissue.
Methods: We analysed the ‘basal’ hepatic potential of undifferentiated, naïve human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hADMSC). hADMSC were isolated from human adipose tissue and characterized for cell surface markers and for liver-specific gene expression.
Results: The isolated undifferentiated naïve hADMSCs expressed MSC surface markers. They also expressed α-fetoprotein, CK18, CK19 and HNF4, which are known as early liver expressing genes. Interestingly, the undifferentiated naïve hADMSC were also positive for albumin, G-6-P and α-1-antitrypsin (AAT), which are all known to be predominantly expressed in adult liver cells. These cells acquired a hepatocyte-specific phenotype and function upon treatment with a differentiation medium, resulting in the upregulation of albumin, G-6-P and AAT. Moreover, urea production, glycogen storage ability and cellular uptake of indocyanine green, which were absent in the basal state, were evident in the treated cells.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest the presence of cells with hepatocyte-like properties that are isolated from human adipose tissue and that can readily acquire hepatocyte-like functions. Adipose tissue could thus be an exciting alternative means for repopulating the liver after various injuries, and might serve as a source for the transplantation of liver cells.