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Hepatocyte transplantation for total liver repopulation.

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  • 1Department of Surgery I, Sapporo Medical University Hospital, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, S-1, W-16, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8543, Japan.


Hepatocyte transplantation (HT) is an attractive therapeutic alternative to liver transplantation. A number of experiments have shown the feasibility of total liver parenchymal cell replacement by transplanted hepatocytes. In this review, we would like to highlight researches and clinical reports of HT for liver repopulation. Cellular source of clinical HT should be safety. Immortalized cells, hepatic stem cells, and other stem cells have been used for an experimental model for HT. The exact mechanism of the cell engraftment after HT has not been completely understood, although there were some markers to detect and investigate transplanted cells. In order to achieve liver repopulation following HT, a mild hepatic damage may need to facilitate cell engraftment and replace the host liver by transplanted cells. Hormonal factor may use for the same purpose. Despite the results of preclinical studies promising clinical benefits for cell therapy, the clinical experience of HT has been disappointing, except in a few cases. HT may become an alternative for liver transplantation in the future; however, many efforts should made before establishing an effective method for HT and liver replacement therapy.

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