PloS one

Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells ameliorate hepatic ischemia reperfusion injury in a rat model.

PMID 21559442


Ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury associated with living donor liver transplantation impairs liver graft regeneration. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are potential cell therapeutic targets for liver disease. In this study, we demonstrate the impact of MSCs against hepatic I/R injury and hepatectomy. We used a new rat model in which major hepatectomy with I/R injury was performed. Male Lewis rats were separated into two groups: an MSC group given MSCs after reperfusion as treatment, and a Control group given phosphate-buffered saline after reperfusion as placebo. The results of liver function tests, pathologic changes in the liver, and the remnant liver regeneration rate were assessed. The fate of transplanted MSCs in the luciferase-expressing rats was examined by in vivo luminescent imaging. The MSC group showed peak luciferase activity of transplanted MSCs in the remnant liver 24 h after reperfusion, after which luciferase activity gradually declined. The elevation of serum alanine transaminase levels was significantly reduced by MSC injection. Histopathological findings showed that vacuolar change was lower in the MSC group compared to the Control group. In addition, a significantly lower percentage of TUNEL-positive cells was observed in the MSC group compared with the controls. Remnant liver regeneration rate was accelerated in the MSC group. These data suggest that MSC transplantation provides trophic support to the I/R-injured liver by inhibiting hepatocellular apoptosis and by stimulating regeneration.