Putnam Valley, NY. (Dec. 18, 2013) Hepatocyte (liver cell) transplantation is becoming an accepted therapy for acute liver failure, either for liver regeneration or as a bridge to liver transplantation. However, maintaining the viability and functional aspects of hepatocytes has been a concern even with successful freezing (cryopreservation). In an effort to improve both the viability and function of cryopreserved hepatocytes prior to transplantation, researchers at Kings College Hospital, London, have co-cultured hepatocytes along with human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from umbilical cord or fat tissues and found that the co-culturing confers improved hepatocyte survival and function.
The study will be published in a future issue of Cell Transplantation but is currently freely available on-line as an unedited early e-pub at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct/pre-prints/content-ct1038fitzpatrick.
The researchers hypothesized that when co-cultured with hepatocytes, MSCs - multipotent connective tissue cells that can differentiate into many kinds of cells - would lend pro-regenerative characteristics to hepatocytes.
"Both human umbilical cord and adipose tissue sources for MSCs were compared," said study corresponding author Dr. Emer Fitzpatrick of King's College Hospital. "Previous studies had used nonhuman cells with limited success. Human MSCs from both umbilical cords and adipose tissue have anti-apoptotic (anti-programmed cell death) and pro-regenerative effects on kidney failure and stroke and they are known to modulate liver injury and promote liver regeneration. While cryopreservation can have deleterious effects on hepatocyte cell engraftment, we wanted to investigate whether a co-culture of human MSCs and hepatocytes would improve hepatocyte function."
They found that MSCs and hepatocytes cul
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Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair