Elkhafif N, El Baz H, Hammam O, Hassan S, Salah F, Mansour W, Mansy S, Yehia H, Zaki A, Magdy R. CD133+ human umbilical cord blood stem cells enhance angiogenesis in experimental chronic hepatic fibrosis. APMIS 2010.
The in vivo angiogenic potential of transplanted human umbilical cord blood (UCB) CD133+ stem cells in experimental chronic hepatic fibrosis induced by murine schistosomiasis was studied. Enriched cord blood-derived CD133+ cells were cultured in primary medium for 3 weeks. Twenty-two weeks post-Schistosomiasis infection in mice, after reaching the chronic hepatic fibrotic stage, transplantation of stem cells was performed and mice were sacrificed 3 weeks later. Histopathology and electron microscopy showed an increase in newly formed blood vessels and a decrease in the fibrosis known for this stage of the disease. By immunohistochemical analysis the newly formed blood vessels showed positive expression of the human-specific angiogenic markers CD31, CD34 and von Willebrand factor. Few hepatocyte-like polygonal cells showed positive expression of human vascular endothelial growth factor and inducible nitric oxide synthase. The transplanted CD133+ human stem cells primarily enhanced hepatic angiogenesis and neovascularization and contributed to repair in a paracrine manner by creating a permissive environment that enabled proliferation and survival of damaged cells rather than by direct differentiation to hepatocytes. A dual advantage of CD133+ cell therapy in hepatic disease is suggested based on its capability of hematopoietic and endothelial differentiation.