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Stem Cells Dev. 2014 Jan 1;23(1):56-65. doi: 10.1089/scd.2013.0202. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Expansion of hepatic stem cell compartment boosts liver regeneration.

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  • 11 First Department of Pathology and Experimental Cancer Research, Semmelweis University , Budapest, Hungary .


The hepatic stem cells reside periportally forming the canals of Hering in normal liver. They can be identified by their unique immunophenotype in rat. The oval cells, the progenies of stem cells invade deep the liver parenchyma after activation and differentiate into focally arranged small-and eventually trabecularly ordered regular hepatocytes. We have observed that upon the completion of intense oval cell reactions narrow ductular structures are present in the parenchyma, we propose to call them parenchymal ductules. These parenchymal ductules have the same immunophenotype [cytokeratin (CK)7-/CK19+/alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)-/delta-like protein (DLK)-] as the resting stem cells of the canals of Hering, but different from them reside scattered in the parenchyma. In our present experiments, we have investigated in an in vivo functional assay if the presence of these parenchymal ductules has any impact on a progenitor cell driven regeneration process. Parenchymal ductules were induced either by an established model of oval cell induction consisting of the administration of necrogenic dose of carbontetrachloride to 2-acetaminofluorene pretreated rats (AAF/CCl4) or a large necrogenic dose of diethylnitrosamine (DEN). The oval cells expanded faster and the foci evolved earlier after repeated injury in the livers with preexistent parenchymal ductules. When the animals were left to survive for one more year increased liver tumor formation was observed exclusively in the DEN treated rats. Thus, repeated oval cell reactions are not necessarily carcinogenic. We conclude that the expansion of hepatic stem cell compartment conceptually can be used to facilitate liver regeneration without an increased risk of tumorigenesis.

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[Available on 2015/1/1]
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