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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2011 Feb;43(2):198-213. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2010.01.013. Epub 2010 Jan 18.

Model systems and experimental conditions that lead to effective repopulation of the liver by transplanted cells.

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Marion Bessin Liver Research Center, Department of Medicine and Division of Hepatology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


In recent years, there has been substantial progress in transplanting cells into the liver with the ultimate goal of restoring liver mass and function in both inherited and acquired liver diseases. The basis for considering that this might be feasible is that the liver is a highly regenerative organ. After massive liver injury or surgical removal of two-thirds or more of the liver tissue, the organ can restore its mass with completely normal morphologic structure and function. It has also been found under highly selective conditions that transplanted hepatocytes can fully repopulate the liver and cure a metabolic disorder or deficiency state. Fetal liver cells can also substantially repopulate the normal liver, and it is hoped in the future that effective repopulation will be achievable with cultured cells or cell lines, pluripotent stem cells from other somatic tissues, embryonic stem cells, or induced pluripotent stem cells, which can now be generated in vitro by a variety of methods. The purpose of this review is to present the major systems that have been used for liver repopulation, the variables involved in obtaining successful repopulation and what has been achieved in these various systems to date with different cell types.

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