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Cell Res. 2008 Apr;18(4):500-7. doi: 10.1038/cr.2008.40.

Suppression of tumorigenesis by human mesenchymal stem cells in a hepatoma model.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, College of Life Sciences, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China.


Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) can home to tumor sites and inhibit the growth of tumor cells. Little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms that link hMSCs to the targeted inhibition of tumor cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of hMSCs on two human hepatoma cell lines (H7402 and HepG2) using an animal transplantation model, a co-culture system and conditioned media from hMSCs. Animal transplantation studies showed that the latent time for tumor formation was prolonged and that the tumor size was smaller when SCID mice were injected with H7402 cells and an equal number of Z3 hMSCs. When co-cultured with Z3 cells, H7402 cell proliferation decreased, apoptosis increased, and the expression of Bcl-2, c-Myc, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and survivin was downregulated. After treatment with conditioned media derived from Z3 hMSC cultures, H4702 cells showed decreased colony-forming ability and decreased proliferation. Immunoblot analysis showed that beta-catenin, Bcl-2, c-Myc, PCNA and survivin expression was downregulated in H7402 and HepG2 cells. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that hMSCs inhibit the malignant phenotypes of the H7402 and HepG2 human liver cancer cell lines, which include proliferation, colony-forming ability and oncogene expression both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, our studies provide evidence that the Wnt signaling pathway may have a role in hMSC-mediated targeting and tumor cell inhibition.

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