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Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2014 Jan;17(1):27-33.

Comparison of the liver function and hepatic specific genes expression in cultured mesenchymal stem cells and hepatocytes.

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School of Biology, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran.
School of Biology, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran ; Institute of Biological Sciences, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran.



Stem cell therapy is believed to be as a promising treatment strategy for tissue repair and regeneration. The plasticity specification of the adult stem cells, such as MSCs, has enabled that these cells to be used in the treatment of a broad spectrum of diseases like liver disorders. In this study, the production of urea and Albumin (Alb), glycogen storage, and expression of some liver genes including α-fetoprotein (AFP), Alb, cytokeratin18 (CK18) and cytokeratin19 (CK19) was compared between mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and isolated rat hepatocytes.


The MSCs were isolated from rat femurs and tibias and cultured in α-MEM, DMEM and RPMI mediums supplemented with serum. Hepatocytes were isolated from Rat livers and cultured in DMEM with serum. The expression of AFP, Alb, CK18, and CK19 genes was evaluated using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Furthermore, the synthesis of albumin and urea of the cells was measured.


In vitro conditions, MSCs and hepatocytes exhibited the characteristic functions of the liver such as capacity to synthesize Alb, urea, the storage of glycogen. In this study, the expression of some liver genes such as AFP, Alb, CK18 and CK19 at mRNA levels was also shown.


The results showed that MSCs exhibited some liver functions, and may be considered as an alternative source for adult stem cell transplantation in liver repair due to the excellent proliferation and differentiation capacities.


Albumin; Glycogen; Hepatocytes; Liver genes; Mesenchymal stem cells


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