Role of mesenchymal stem cells, their derived factors, and extracellular vesicles in liver failure

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2017 Jun 6;8(1):137. doi: 10.1186/s13287-017-0576-4.


Liver failure is a severe clinical syndrome with a poor prognosis. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation has emerged as a new intervention in treating liver failure. It is conventionally recognized that MSCs exert their therapeutic effect mainly through transdifferentiation. Recently, published articles have shown that MSCs work in liver failure by secreting trophic and immunomodulatory factors as well as extracellular vesicles (EVs) before transdifferentiation. In particular,MSC-derived EVs have shown similar curative effects as MSCs. Here we review the role of MSCs as well as their derived factors and EVs in liver failure and discuss the use of MSC-derived EVs instead of intact MSCs in treating liver failure.

Keywords: Exosome; Extracellular vesicles; Liver failure; Liver regeneration; Mesenchymal stem cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cell Transdifferentiation / genetics
  • Extracellular Vesicles / genetics
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure / genetics
  • Liver Failure / pathology
  • Liver Failure / therapy*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*