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Int J Stem Cells. 2017 Nov 30;10(2):218-226. doi: 10.15283/ijsc17003.

Hepatogenic Differentiation Capacity of Human Wharton's Jelly Mesenchymal Stem Cell in a Co-culturing System with Endothelial Cells in Matrigel/collagen Scaffold in the Presence of Fetal Liver Extract.

Author information

Laboratory for Stem Cell Research, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Stem Cell Technology Research Center, Shiraz Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Tissue Engineering Lab, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.



Human Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells (HWJMSCs) isolated from medical waste product can be considered as an accessible source of cells in regenerative medicine. Stem cell-derived hepatocytes have poor function and need appropriate niche to reconstruct the liver structure. Therefore, we attempted to find a novel approach in differentiating HWJMSCs into functional hepatic cells using 3D culture conditions and liver extract that recapitulates vital stage in liver development.

Materials and Methods:

HWJMSCs were extracted from human Wharton's jelly, characterized by flow cytometry, and differentiated towards osteogenic and adipogenic lineages. HWJMSCs were co-cultured with HUVECs in 3D matrigel/ collagen scaffolds in the presence of fetal liver extract for 14 days. The expression of specific liver genes were evaluated by lectins, PAS and immunocytochemistry.


According to flow cytometry data, isolated cells from HWJMSCs were shown to express MSC markers. HWJMSCs co-cultured with HUVECs in matrigel/collagen scaffold with extract expressed albumin, lectins UEA and PNA. Immunohistochemistry of the cells in matrigel/collagen scaffold with or without extract exhibited a positive reaction for CK19.


Co-culturing of the HWJMSC/HUVEC in 3D matrigel/collagen scaffold is bimimicary of in vivo cell condition. The results showed that administration of the liver extract in 3D matrigel/collagen culture of HWJMSC/HUVEC can induce hepatocyte marker expression.


3D culture; Collagen; Hepatocyte; Liver extract; Matrigel

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