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Cell Biol Int. 2008 Sep;32(9):1091-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cellbi.2008.04.020. Epub 2008 May 2.

Transdifferentiation of mesenchymal stem cells derived from human fetal lung to hepatocyte-like cells.

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Immunology and Reproduction Biology Lab, Medical School & State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, and The Affiliated Drum Tower Hospital of Nanjing Nanjing University Medical School, Hankou Road 22, Nanjing 210093, China.


The great shortage of human hepatic cells makes it desirable to generate extrahepatic stem or precursor cells. In recent years, it has been reported that human multipotential mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells. The fetal lung is one of the largest organs containing many MSCs that can be easily obtained. Whether MSCs from fetal lung can differentiate into hepatocytes or bile duct cells is an important issue in basic medicine and clinical application. We isolated fetal lung cells, and expanded and analyzed them. At passage 4, their morphologic, immunophenotyping and cytokine secretions were similar to adult bone marrow-derived MSCs. We conclude that these cells from fetal lung are MSCs, indicating that human fetal lung is an ideal source of hMSCs. hMSCs from fetal lung induced in special differentiation medium showed homogeneous and small polygonal endothelial-like morphology, expressing weak mRNA, as well as Alb and AFP. This implies that hMSCs from fetal lung can differentiate into hepatocyte-like cells.

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