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Nat Med. 1998 Oct;4(10):1185-8.

Selective repopulation of normal mouse liver by Fas/CD95-resistant hepatocytes.

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INSERM U 129 ICGM, Université Paris V René Descartes, Paris, France.


Hepatocyte transplantation might represent a potential therapeutic alternative to liver transplantation in the future; however, transplanted cells have a limited capacity to repopulate the liver, as they do not proliferate under normal conditions. Recently, studies in urokinase (uPA) transgenic mice and in fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH)-deficient mice have shown that the liver can be repopulated by genetically engineered hepatocytes harboring a selective advantage over resident hepatocytes. We have reported that transgenic mice expressing human Bcl-2 in their hepatocytes are protected from Fas/CD95-mediated liver apoptosis. We now show that Bcl-2 transplanted hepatocytes selectively repopulate the liver of mice treated with nonlethal doses of the anti-Fas antibody Jo2. FK 506 immunosuppressed mice were transplanted by splenic injection with Bcl-2 hepatocytes. The livers of female recipients were repopulated by male Bcl-2 transgenic hepatocytes, as much as 16%, after 8 to 12 administrations of Jo2. This only occurred after anti-Fas treatment, confirming that resistance to Fas-induced apoptosis constituted the selective advantage of these transplanted hepatocytes. Thus, we have demonstrated a method for increasing genetic reconstitution of the liver through selective repopulation with modified transgenic hepatocytes, which will allow optimization of cell and gene therapy in the liver.

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