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J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 2005;12(3):196-202.

Hepatocyte differentiation from embryonic stem cells and umbilical cord blood cells.

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Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8519, Japan.


With the development of regeneration medicine, many researchers have attempted hepatic differentiation from nonhepatic-origin cell sources. The differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells into hepatocyte-like cells has been reported in several papers. Mouse ES cells have shown a potential to develop into hepatocyte-like cells in vitro on the basis of hepatic gene expression after adding several growth factors. We transplanted cultured embryoid body (EB) cells (male) into female mice. A liver specimen of the recipient was examined by immunohistochemical staining for albumin and fluorescence in situ hybridization for the Y chromosome after transplantation. Both Y chromosome- and albumin-positive cells were recognized in the recipient female liver, and were considered to be hepatocyte-like cells derived from ES cells containing the Y chromosome. Many groups, including ourselves, have studied hepatocyte-like cell differentiation from umbilical cord blood cells (UBCs). We cultured nucleated cells isolated from UBCs. Using immunostaining, ALB-positive and CK-19-positive cells were recognized in the culture. Dual staining of ALB and CK-19 demonstrated that ALB was coexpressed with CK-19, suggesting the existence of hepatic progenitors. In this review, we consider recent studies of the differentiation of hepatocytes from nonhepatic origins, especially ES cells and umbilical cord blood.

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