Prospects for Stem Cell Transplantation in the Treatment of Hepatic Disease

Benjamin M. Stutchfield, Stuart J. Forbes, Stephen J. Wigmore

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Stem cell therapy has the potential to provide a valuable adjunct to the management of hepatic disease. Preclinical studies have demonstrated a range of endogenous repair processes that can be exploited through stem cell therapy. Initial translational studies have been encouraging and have suggested improved liver function in advanced chronic liver disease and enhanced liver regeneration after portal vein embolization. This article reviews the potential for stem cell therapies to enhance hepatic regeneration in acute and chronic hepatic disease and is based on a MEDLINE and PubMed search for English language articles investigating mechanisms of hepatic regeneration and delivery of cell therapies. Two main mechanisms of potential stem cell therapy delivery have emerged: (1) a direct contribution to the functional hepatocyte population with embryonic, induced pluripotent, or adult stem cells and (2) the promotion of endogenous regenerative processes with bone marrow-derived stem cells. Bioartificial hepatic support systems may be proven to be an effective method of using ex vivo differentiated hepatocytes and be indicated as a bridging therapy to definitive surgery in acute liver failure. The administration of bone marrow-derived stem cells may enhance liver regeneration in chronic liver disease after portal vein embolization and could facilitate regeneration after partial hepatic resection. Ultimately, the most appropriate hepatic disease targets for stem cell therapies will become apparent as mechanisms of stem involvement in hepatic regeneration are further elucidated. Liver Transpl 16:827-836, 2010. (C) 2010 AASLD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-836
Number of pages10
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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