Therapeutic potential of a distinct population of human amniotic fluid mesenchymal stem cells and their secreted molecules in mice with acute hepatic failure

Author(s): Zagoura DS, Roubelakis MG, Bitsika V, Trohatou O, Pappa KI, et al.


Background: There is increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), especially in diseases such as acute hepatic failure (AHF) that are predominantly caused by a variety of drugs and viruses. In previous studies, a distinct population termed human spindle-shaped MSCs were isolated and expanded from second trimester amniotic fluid (AF-MSCs) and characterised based on their phenotype, pluripotency and differentiation potential.

Methods: AF-MSCs, hepatic progenitor-like (HPL) cells and hepatocyte-like (HL) cells derived from AF-MSCs were transplanted into CCl₄-injured NOD/SCID mice with the AHF phenotype in order to evaluate their therapeutic potential. Conditioned medium (CM) derived from AF-MSCs or HPL cells was then delivered intrahepatically in order to determine whether the engraftment of the cells or their secreted molecules are the most important agents for liver repair.

Results: Both HPL cells and AF-MSCs were incorporated into CCl(4)-injured livers; HPL cell transplantation had a greater therapeutic effect. In contrast, HL cells failed to engraft and contribute to recovery. In addition, HPL-CM was found to be more efficient than CM derived from AF-MSCs in treatment of the liver. Proteome profile analysis of HPL-CM indicated the presence of anti-inflammatory factors such as interleukins IL-10, IL-1ra, IL-13 and IL-27 which may induce liver recovery. Blocking studies of IL-10 secretion from HPL cells confirmed the therapeutic significance of this cytokine in the AHF mouse model.

Conclusions: Human spindle-shaped AF-MSCs or HPL cells might be valuable tools to induce liver repair and support liver function by cell transplantation. More importantly, the factors they release may also play an important role in cell treatment in diseases of the liver.

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