Background: Liver failure is a devastating clinical syndrome with a persistently mortality
rate despite advanced care. Orthotopic liver transplantation protected patients from hepatic failure.
Yet, limitations including postoperative complications, high costs, and shortages of donor organs defect
its application. The development of stem cell therapy complements the deficiencies of liver transplantation,
due to the inherent ability of stem cells to proliferate and differentiate.
Objective: Understand the source of stem cells, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of stem
Method: Based on published papers, we discussed the cell sources and therapeutic effect of stem cells.
We also summarized the pros and cons, as well as optimization of stem cell-based treatment. Finally
outlook future prospects of stem cell therapy.
Results and Conclusion: Stem cells may be harvested from a variety of human tissues, and then used to
promote the convalescence of hepatocellular function. The emergence of the co-cultured system, tissueengineered
technology and genetic modfication has further enhanced the functionality of stem cells.
However, the tumorigenicity, the low survival rate and the scarcity of long-term treatment effect are obstacles
for the further development of stem cell therapy. In this review, we highlight current research
findings and present the future prospects in the area of stem cell-based treatment for liver failure.