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Gastroenterology. 2010 Dec;139(6):2158-2169.e8. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.08.042. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

Hepatoblast-like progenitor cells derived from embryonic stem cells can repopulate livers of mice.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Shanghai, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Hepatocyte-like cells can be derived from pluripotent stem cells such as embryonic stem (ES) cells, but ES cell-derived hepatic cells with extensive capacity to repopulate liver have not been identified. We aimed to identify and purify ES cell-derived hepatoblast-like progenitor cells and to explore their capacity for liver repopulation in mice after in vitro expansion.

METHODS:

Unmanipulated mouse ES cells were cultured under defined conditions and allowed to undergo stepwise hepatic differentiation. The derived hepatic cells were examined by morphologic, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, gene expression, and clonal expansion analyses. The capacities of ES cell-derived hepatic progenitor cells to repopulate liver were investigated in mice that were deficient in fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (Fah) (a model of liver injury).

RESULTS:

Mouse ES cells were induced to differentiate into a population that contained hepatic progenitor cells; this population included cells that expressed epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) but did not express c-Kit. Clonal hepatic progenitors that arose from single c-Kit(-)EpCAM(+) cells could undergo long-term expansion and maintain hepatoblast-like characteristics. Enriched c-Kit(-)EpCAM(+) cells and clonally expanded hepatic progenitor cells repopulated the livers of Fah-deficient mice without inducing tumorigenesis.

CONCLUSIONS:

ES cell-derived c-Kit(-)EpCAM(+) cells contain a population of hepatoblast-like progenitor cells that can repopulate livers of mice.

Copyright © 2010 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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