Historical Perspectives and Advances in Mesenchymal Stem Cell Research for the Treatment of Liver Diseases

Chien Wei Lee, Yu Fan Chen, Hao Hsiang Wu, Oscar K. Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

Liver transplantation is the only effective therapy for patients with decompensated cirrhosis and fulminant liver failure. However, due to a shortage of donor livers and complications associated with immune suppression, there is an urgent need for new therapeutic strategies for patients with end-stage liver diseases. Given their unique function in self-renewal and differentiation potential, stem cells might be used to regenerate damaged liver tissue. Recent studies have shown that stem cell−based therapies can improve liver function in a mouse model of hepatic failure. Moreover, acellular liver scaffolds seeded with hepatocytes produced functional bioengineered livers for organ transplantation in preclinical studies. The therapeutic potential of stem cells or their differentiated progenies will depend on their capacity to differentiate into mature and functional cell types after transplantation. It will also be important to devise methods to overcome their genomic instability, immune reactivity, and tumorigenic potential. We review directions and advances in the use of mesenchymal stem cells and their derived hepatocytes for liver regeneration. We also discuss the potential applications of hepatocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells and challenges to using these cells in treating end-stage liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalGastroenterology
Volume154
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Hepatocytes
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Stem Cell Therapy

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