Mesenchymal stromal cells as supportive cells for hepatocytes

Mol Ther. 2009 Sep;17(9):1504-8. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.158. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


Hepatocytes and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) appear to share many of the same requirements for their survival, functionality, and proliferation. This may be due to a shared location during fetal development. Moreover, hepatocytes and HSCs are unable to function, or even survive, without stromal cell support. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) support the proliferation and functionality, not only of HSCs, but also of hepatocytes. Although knowledge of the mechanisms underlying HSCs' support is far more advanced than for hepatocytes, data suggest that many agents important for HSCs also maintain the normal hepatocyte phenotype in vitro. Thus, it is possible that new techniques for the maintenance and expansion of HSCs may also be useful for hepatocytes. Bone marrow-derived MSCs are easily cultured and expanded in vitro, and some data suggest that they are immunoregulatory as well as relatively nonimmunogenic. These observations suggest that allogeneic MSCs may be useful not only in supporting hepatocyte growth and proliferation but also in modulating immune responses such as stellate cell activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Hepatocytes / cytology*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological