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Therapeutic potential of a distinct population of human amniotic fluid mesenchymal stem cells and their secreted molecules in mice with acute hepatic failure
  1. Dimitra S Zagoura1,2,
  2. Maria G Roubelakis1,2,
  3. Vasiliki Bitsika1,2,
  4. Ourania Trohatou1,2,
  5. Kalliopi I Pappa3,
  6. Alkistis Kapelouzou4,
  7. Aristidis Antsaklis3,
  8. Nicholas P Anagnou1,2
  1. 1Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory, Centre of Basic Research II, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Athens, Greece
  2. 2Laboratory of Biology, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece
  3. 3First Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece
  4. 4Center of Experimental Surgery, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Athens, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Maria G Roubelakis, Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory, Centre of Basic Research II, Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), Athens 115 27, Greece; mroubelaki{at}


Background There is increasing interest in the therapeutic potential of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), especially in diseases such as acute hepatic failure (AHF) that are predominantly caused by a variety of drugs and viruses. In previous studies, a distinct population termed human spindle-shaped MSCs were isolated and expanded from second trimester amniotic fluid (AF-MSCs) and characterised based on their phenotype, pluripotency and differentiation potential.

Methods AF-MSCs, hepatic progenitor-like (HPL) cells and hepatocyte-like (HL) cells derived from AF-MSCs were transplanted into CCl4-injured NOD/SCID mice with the AHF phenotype in order to evaluate their therapeutic potential. Conditioned medium (CM) derived from AF-MSCs or HPL cells was then delivered intrahepatically in order to determine whether the engraftment of the cells or their secreted molecules are the most important agents for liver repair.

Results Both HPL cells and AF-MSCs were incorporated into CCl4-injured livers; HPL cell transplantation had a greater therapeutic effect. In contrast, HL cells failed to engraft and contribute to recovery. In addition, HPL-CM was found to be more efficient than CM derived from AF-MSCs in treatment of the liver. Proteome profile analysis of HPL-CM indicated the presence of anti-inflammatory factors such as interleukins IL-10, IL-1ra, IL-13 and IL-27 which may induce liver recovery. Blocking studies of IL-10 secretion from HPL cells confirmed the therapeutic significance of this cytokine in the AHF mouse model.

Conclusions Human spindle-shaped AF-MSCs or HPL cells might be valuable tools to induce liver repair and support liver function by cell transplantation. More importantly, the factors they release may also play an important role in cell treatment in diseases of the liver.

  • Stem cells
  • liver regeneration
  • liver transplantation
  • gene therapy
  • gene transfer
  • molecular genetics
  • molecular oncology

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  • Funding This research was supported by Grant PENED No. 03ED 652 from the Greek Secretariat of Research and Technology and the European Union to NPA. Partial support was provided by Iaso Hospital, Athens, Greece.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Bioethics Committee, National and Kapodistrian University of Athnes.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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