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Stem Cells Int. 2019 Feb 5;2019:2403793. doi: 10.1155/2019/2403793. eCollection 2019.

Characteristics of Intestinal Microecology during Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Therapy for Mouse Acute Liver Injury.

Dong X1, Feng X1, Liu J1, Xu Y1, Pan Q1,2, Ling Z1,2, Yu J1,2, Yang J1,2, Li L1,2, Cao H1,2.

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State Key Laboratory for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79 Qingchun Rd., Hangzhou City 310003, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, 79 Qingchun Rd., Hangzhou City 310003, China.



The mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation to protect against acute liver injury have been well studied within the liver. However, the associated changes in the intestinal microbiota during this process are poorly understood.


In this study, compact bone-derived MSCs were injected into mice after carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) administration. Potential curative effect of MSC was evaluated by survival rate and biochemical and pathological results. Overall structural changes of microbial communities and alterations in the intestinal microbiota were assessed by sequenced 16S rRNA amplicon libraries from the contents of the cecum and colon.


MSCs significantly reduced the serum levels of aspartate transaminase and alanine transaminase and improved the histopathology and survival rate. Lower expression and discontinuous staining of zonula occludens, as well as disrupted tight junctions, were observed in CCl4-treated mice at 48 h compared with MSC-transplanted mice. Moreover, MSC transplantation to the liver leads to intestinal microbiota changes that were reflected in the decreased abundance of Bacteroidetes S24-7 and Bacteroidaceae and increased abundance of Firmicutes Clostridiales, Ruminococcaceae, and Lactobacillus at the initial time point compared with that in CCl4-treated mice. In addition, phylogenetic investigation of communities by the reconstruction of unobserved states (PICRUSt) based on the Greengenes database revealed functional biomarkers of MSC-transplanted mice involved in cell motility, signal transduction, membrane transport, transcription, and metabolism of lipids, cofactors, vitamins, terpenoids, and polyketides, as well as xenobiotics.


The initial alterations in the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio, which resulted from MSC infusion to the liver, maintain intestinal mucosal biology and homeostasis that may be beneficial to liver repair.

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