Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy

Anthony Atala  
Wake Forest University School of Medicine,
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston Salem, NC 27157
USA

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Therapeutic Potential of Bone Marrow Stem Cells for Liver Diseases

Author(s): Felix C. Popp, Pompiliu Piso, Hans J. Schlitt, Marc H. Dahlke.

Abstract:

Stem cells of the bone marrow, including hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and hepatic progenitors were reported to give rise to hepatocytes by both transdifferentiation and cellular fusion. Transdifferentiation was observed without liver damage although significant numbers of stem cell derived hepatocytes were not described. Cellular fusion was demonstrated in the presence of a proliferation stimulus in conjunction with impaired intrinsic liver regeneration capacity. Here, we review potential therapeutic applications of stem cell derived hepatocytes depending on how they emerge. Stem cells turning into hepatocytes by transdifferentiation introduce new functioning liver cells into a diseased organ, which can support intrinsic liver regeneration or bridge the time gap until a definitive treatment is available. When cellular fusion is the mechanism behind stem cell plasticity, however, no new cells emerge in the first place, whereas new genetic material is introduced. The fusion cell thereby acquires a selective advantage over resident hepatocytes allowing for extensive proliferation and liver repopulation. Therefore genetic deficiencies might be the predominant target for cell fusion therapies. We conclude that transdifferentiation and cellular fusion might be powerful tools for the therapy of liver diseases in the future and we propose the introduction of artificial cell fusion as well as stem cell differentiation as therapeutic options.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 1
ISSUE: 3
Year: 2006
Page: [411 - 418]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/157488806778226759
Price: $58