Mesenchymal stem cells restore CCl4-induced liver injury by an antioxidative process

Cell Biol Int. 2012;36(12):1267-74. doi: 10.1042/CBI20110634.


We have investigated BM (bone marrow)-derived MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) for the treatment of liver injury. It was hypothesized that MSC-mediated resolution of liver injury could occur through an antioxidative process. After being injected with CCl4 (carbon tetrachloride), mice were injected with syngenic BM-derived MSCs or normal saline. Oxidative stress activity of the MSCs was determined by the analysis of ROS (reactive oxygen species) and SOD (superoxide dismutase) activity. In addition, cytoprotective genes of the liver tissue were assessed by real-time PCR and ARE (antioxidant-response element) reporter assay. Up-regulated ROS of CCl4-treated liver cells was attenuated by co-culturing with MSCs. Suppression of SOD by adding an SOD inhibitor decreased the effect of MSCs on injured liver cells. MSCs significantly increased SOD activity and inhibited ROS production in the injured liver. The gene expression levels of Hmox-1 (haem oxygenase-1), BI-1 (Bax inhibitor-1), HGF (hepatocyte growth factor), GST (glutathione transferase) and Nrf2 (nuclear factor-erythoid 2 p45 subunit-related factor 20), attenuated by CCl4, were increased up to basal levels after MSC transplantation. In addition, MSCs induced an ARE, shown by luciferase activity, which represented a cytoprotective response in the injured liver. Evidence of a new cytoprotective effect is shown in which MSCs promote an antioxidant response and supports the potential of using MSC transplantation as an effective treatment modality for liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Carbon Tetrachloride / adverse effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / genetics
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / therapy*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Superoxide Dismutase