Contribution of human hematopoietic stem cells to liver repair

Ping Zhou, Louisa Wirthlin, Jeannine McGee, Geralyn Annett, Jan Nolta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Immune-deficient mouse models of liver damage allow examination of human stem cell migration to sites of damage and subsequent contribution to repair and survival. In our studies, in the absence of a selective advantage, transplanted human stem cells from adult sources did not robustly become hepatocytes, although some level of fusion or hepatic differentiation was documented. However, injected stem cells did home to the injured liver tissue and release paracrine factors that hastened endogenous repair and enhanced survival. There were significantly higher levels of survival in mice with a toxic liver insult that had been transplanted with human stem cells but not in those transplanted with committed progenitors. Transplantation of autologous adult stem cells without conditioning is a relatively safe therapy. Adult stem cells are known to secrete bioactive factors that suppress the local immune system, inhibit fibrosis (scar formation) and apoptosis, enhance angiogenesis, and stimulate recruitment, retention, mitosis, and differentiation of tissue-residing stem cells. These paracrine effects are distinct from the direct differentiation of stem cells to repair tissue. In patients at high risk while waiting for a liver transplant, autologous stem cell therapy could be considered, as it could delay the decline in liver function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Immunopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Aldehyde dehydrogenase
  • Cell fusion
  • Hematopoietic stem cell
  • Hepatocytes
  • Liver damage
  • Regenerative medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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